Food Justice: An Empirical Analysis of Food Landscapes and Population Health in a Large U.S. City

Stephen J. Porth, Ernest Baskin
September 28, 2022
North America
Economics, Ethics & Social Justice
20 pages
Food justice, empirical analysis, food landscapes, public health, Sustainable agriculture, Sustainable Development Goals
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This study examines the challenge of “food justice” by investigating the relationships between food landscapes and the health and wellbeing of local communities in a large urban setting. We identify and discuss the implications of these relationships for advancing the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals of ending hunger, improving health and wellness for all, and promoting sustainable agriculture. Empirical results show that controlling for several health-related variables, rates of obesity in a community coincide with the incidence of food outlets with no or low produce available. That is, urban neighborhoods with higher numbers of stores selling mostly unhealthy food options and little or no fresh fruits and vegetables are characterized by higher rates of obesity. Lack of access to healthy foods is a symptom of food injustice. Implications for social entrepreneurs, business and government leaders, and public health professionals are discussed along with ways to address the pervasive global challenge of food injustice.