A GIS-based Methodology Toward Refining the Concept of Rural Food Deserts: A Case Study from Rutland County, Vermont

  • John Van Hoesen Green Mountain College
  • Brandy Bunkley Green Mountain College
  • Cody Currier Green Mountain College
Keywords: Food Access, Food Deserts, GIS, Locavore, Rural, Vermont

Abstract

There is generally consensus regarding the methodology used to identify and visualize food deserts in urban centers, and to a lesser extent those in rural communities. The primary factor in food desert mapping, however, is distance to food provider without regard for the nutritional value of the food itself. The purpose of this paper is to offer a broader approach toward refining the food desert concept by incorporating a qualitative ranking of food providers based on the likelihood that they offer healthier food options. We apply this technique to Rutland County in rural Vermont by incorporating traditional grocery stores, supermarkets, big-box stores, general stores, and gas stations, and also including smaller food providers such as farmers' markets, co-ops, farm stands, and community supported agriculture operations. This approach could shift the methodology of identifying food deserts away from just using driving time and distance traveled to food providers meeting a minimum square footage. We propose a methodology that calculates distance to different types of food providers that also evaluates whether consumers have access to healthier food options.

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Author Biographies

John Van Hoesen, Green Mountain College
Department of Environmental Studies, Green Mountain College; One Brennan Circle; Poultney, Vermont 05764 USA; +1-802-287-8387.
Brandy Bunkley, Green Mountain College
Department of Environmental Studies, Green Mountain College; One Brennan Circle; Poultney, Vermont 05764 USA.
Cody Currier, Green Mountain College
Department of Environmental Studies, Green Mountain College; One Brennan Circle; Poultney, Vermont 05764 USA.
Published
2013-03-08
How to Cite
Van Hoesen, J., Bunkley, B., & Currier, C. (2013). A GIS-based Methodology Toward Refining the Concept of Rural Food Deserts: A Case Study from Rutland County, Vermont. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 3(2), 61-76. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2013.032.006
Section
Open Call Papers