An Evaluation of Food Deserts in America

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Dave D. Weatherspoon, Shelly Ver Ploeg, and Paula Dutko, Guest Editors

Theme Issue Overview: An Evaluation of Food Deserts in America

A series of articles explores the topic of food access and its ramifications for diet and health in the Unites States. This issue explores supply-side decisions that lead to food deserts, the characteristics of such areas, and how policy and local interventions may improve access to healthful and affordable foods.

Food Deserts Suffer Persistent Socioeconomic Disadvantage

Areas previously identified as food deserts by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are subject to persistent socioeconomic disadvantage compared to other areas of the United States. High poverty rates largely influence whether an area of widespread low income will also be a food desert.

Will Long Term Food Desert Consumers Purchase Fresh Fruits and Vegetables?

This paper provides empirical evidence on consumer behavior after healthy foods are reintroduced into a long-standing Detroit food desert. Fresh fruit and vegetable consumption responds elastically to income and inelastically to price. Knowledge and access limitations are constraints. Policy implications relating to causes and consequences of food deserts are discussed.