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Healthy Food on Wheels: An Exploration of Mobile Produce Markets Through a Food Justice Lens

Part of the The International Library of Environmental, Agricultural and Food Ethics book series (LEAF,volume 24)

Abstract

The built environment significantly influences the accessibility of healthy affordable foods. However, examination of built environments alone is insufficient to understanding why some neighborhoods in the United States are bountiful with fresh produce while others experience severe scarcity. This research investigates mobile produce markets (mobile markets) in order to understand how and to what extent they improve food availability and how they address structural inequities associated with poor food access environments. Race, class, and gender dimensions of food insecurity are reviewed, followed by an explanation of the emergence of mobile markets as a response to food insecurity. Eight geographically diverse U.S. mobile markets are studied using critical discourse analysis and interviews. A food justice framework is applied to the sample to understand the obstacles and opportunities to improving food availability and addressing structural inequities. Analysis reveals most mobile markets are not positioned to address root causes of inadequate access to healthy foods and it is unreasonable to build the case that mobile markets have transformational power as a food access intervention. Mobile markets are better situated to support and promote food availability goals on a short-term basis. This research contributes to understanding the efficacy of mobile markets and offers the recommendation of employing a food justice framework in the development of food access interventions to effectively address structural inequities associated with poor food access environments.

Keywords

  • Mobile markets
  • Food justice
  • Food security
  • Food access
  • Alternative food

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-57174-4_12
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Correspondence to Elisabeth (Elle) Mari .

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Appendix

Appendix

Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    What motivated you and/or your organization to develop a mobile produce market?

  2. 2.

    How does your organization try to create change in the food system?

  3. 3.

    How is healthy food access a problem or challenge for the community/communities you serve?

  4. 4.

    Is your organization involved in leadership development work related to your mobile product market? If yes, please explain.

  5. 5.

    Is your organization involved in economic development work related to your mobile produce market? If yes, please explain.

  6. 6.

    How does your organization engage community members with your mobile produce market?

  7. 7.

    Does your organization work on other healthy food access initiatives in addition to your mobile produce market? If yes, please explain.

  8. 8.

    How is your mobile produce market funded?

  9. 9.

    If you are no longer operating a mobile produce market, why did it cease operation?

  10. 10.

    How do you see your mobile produce market being able to improve healthy food access conditions in the community/communities you work in the short-term and long-term?

  11. 11.

    How do you see your mobile produce market improving social inequities in the community it serves? Short-term and long-term ideas?

  12. 12.

    What are the biggest challenges or barriers you face in trying to improve social inequities through your mobile produce market?

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(Elle) Mari, E. (2017). Healthy Food on Wheels: An Exploration of Mobile Produce Markets Through a Food Justice Lens. In: Werkheiser, I., Piso, Z. (eds) Food Justice in US and Global Contexts. The International Library of Environmental, Agricultural and Food Ethics, vol 24. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57174-4_12

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