Farms and gardens everywhere but not a bite to eat?
A critical geographic approach to food apartheid in Salt Lake City
Keywords:Food Apartheid, Urban Agriculture, Redlining, Food Justice, Critical Geographies of Food, Food Deserts, Community-Based Praxis
Through community-engaged research, we investigate how political and economic practices have created food apartheid and the ways in which this legacy complicates efforts toward equitable urban agriculture in Salt Lake City (SLC). The study takes place in SLC’s Westside, where an ample number of farms and gardens exist, yet food insecurity is a persistent issue. We partner with a small urban CSA farm operating in a USDA-designated food desert in SLC’s Westside to explore the farmers’ own questions about whom their farm is serving and the farms’ potential to contribute to food justice in their community. Specifically, we examine (1) the member distribution of this urban CSA farm and (2) the underlying socio-political, economic, and geographic factors, such as inequitable access to land, housing, urban agriculture, food, and transportation, that contribute to this distribution. GIS analyses, developed with community partners, reveal spatial patterns between contemporary food insecurity and ongoing socioeconomic disparities matching 1930s residential redlining maps. These data resonate with a critical geographic approach to food apartheid and inform a need for deeper and more holistic strategies for food sovereignty through urban agriculture in SLC. While resource constraints may prevent some small farmers from attending to these issues, partnerships in praxis can build capacity and engender opportunities to investigate and disrupt the racial hierarchies enmeshed in federal agricultural policy, municipal zoning, and residential homeownership programs that perpetuate food apartheid.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Leah Joyner, Blanca Yagüe, Adrienne Cachelin, Jeffrey Rose
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