Document Type

Presentation (Class or campus)

Scholarship Type

Student Scholarship

Presentation Date


Event Name and Location of Presentation

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Student Poster Session

Instructor(s) or Advisor(s)

Mike Winiski


In the last decade there has been a convergence of factors that have contributed to an increase in food deserts, obesity, and income inequality in the US. Two-thirds of US adults are overweight or obese. This prevalence disproportionately affects low income areas with high minority populations (Ruelas et al., 2012). Simultaneously, research shows that grocery stores are tending to move away from low income, inner city communities and towards affluent urban and suburban areas. In order to combat the growing food deserts and obesity rates as a result of this shift, farmers markets have been proposed and utilized as a means to increasing access to fresh, healthy, nutritious, and affordable food (Jilcott et al., 2011).

The number of farmers markets in the US has increased by 84% in the last decade (Alkon, 2008). With over 8,000 reported farmers markets in the US in 2012, the spatial distribution of farmers markets has power to provide insight into the continuing discussion on food, health, and poverty. This geographic analysis examines the relationship between urban farmers markets, race, income, and obesity rates in the United States. While farmers markets have been offered as a tool for social justice in low income areas, they have likewise been associated with organic, high quality, and sustainable sources of food in higher income areas (Alkon, 2008). Furthermore, farmers markets are perceived as a positive community building platform for urban areas. The purpose of this study is to identify the relationship between income, race, and obesity rates among highly urban areas with a high number of farmers markets.

Additional Affiliated Department, Center or Institute

Center for Teaching and Learning



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