Finding food deserts : a spatial analysis of food security in Northwestern Ontario (1996-2006) / by Sarah Wintle.
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The purpose of this study is to examine the state of food security in Northwestern Ontario communities by identifying food deserts, or neighbourhoods with high levels of social deprivation and limited access to nutritious food. This objective was achieved through mapping out socio demographic and economic data with the location of food retail outlets. Using a quartile analysis, many socio-demographic factors shown in the literature to affect community food security were combined into one value to be shown on one map. The resulting food desert maps were created for the years 1996, 2001 and 2006 in order to determine whether temporal trends of increasing or decreasing food security could be observed. Results show that in most communities food desert propagation follows socio-demographic and economic trends and food security was therefore inferred to be improving with a marked decrease in food deserts overall. Thunder Bay was found to be an interesting combination of the factors that have contributed to food desert proliferation in the United States with the social facets that have kept them from becoming too drastic a problem in Canada thus far. To date, these are believed to be the smallest communities examined for food desert identification.