Searching for Food (Justice): Understanding Access in an Under-served Food Environment in New York City
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Problems of food access, food insecurity and hunger, are linked to numerous adverse health outcomes as well as highlight social justice problems, such as spatial segregation and neighborhood deprivation, within the larger food system. This project explores the links between food systems, access, and food practices among low-income residents living in the Queensbridge micro-neighborhood located within the larger neighborhood of Long Island City, NYC. Given the complexity of the issues surrounding the food system and the differential impacts on people across various socio-economic statuses the aims of this study include gaining a better understanding of the issues and processes involved among low-income community members related to the ways in which they source and consume food in the conventional and alternative food systems. These issues are examined through participant observation, in-depth interviews, and archival research with members of a community-based advocacy organization, as well as community members living in and around the Queensbridge micro-neighborhood, and staff members and volunteers of area community-based organizations. Findings in this study focus on participants’ perceptions and experience of the food environment in this community utilizing a food justice framework to interrogate the forms of race and class based differences that undergird residents’ food practices.