The Role of Urban Agriculture in Environmental and Social Sustainability: Case Study of Boston, Massachusetts.
- Due to the modern-day abundances of processed and prepared foods in grocery stores and fast food restaurants, we are far removed from where our food comes from. This is inflicting enormous tolls on our climate, public health, and environment. Twenty percent of the fossil fuel used in the United States goes toward food production, and while the U.S. produces a surplus of food annually, over 35.5 ... read moremillion people in the country are food insecure (Pirog 2005). Community gardens work to mitigate many of those disparities by increasing access to nutritious fresh produce. Boston has had a tumultuous history of food distribution and local food production, and a study of how that is still manifested in the spatial distributions of community gardens and affordable, fresh groceries would show how successful Boston has been at overcoming its food gap. For this study, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software was used to map community gardens, supermarkets, small and specialty grocery stores, and convenience stores within the context of local demographics to identify any areas of Boston that can be classified as food insecure. Data from this was used to analyze significant disparities in access to food between racial and socioeconomic demographics with several remarkable and grim results, including that the top 25% communities most vulnerable to food insecurity have more community gardens than convenience stores, showing a distinct response to a lack of affordable, healthy food.read less