Class Year

2013

Access Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department or Program

Earth Science and Geography Department

First Advisor

Mary Ann Cunningham

Abstract

This project seeks to investigate the intersections of race, class, and food: examining how access and acceptance to good quality food is shaped and changed through the process of gentrification. I ask why it is predominately upper-middle class whites that are buying ‘good food’ (non-processed, organic, local, etc), how this situation came to be in the United States, and ultimately what the consequences are of injecting upscale food cultures into previously low-income, high-minority spaces. To observe this change I overview the broad inequality created by the policies of the US food system, the emergence of whiteness within alternative food movements, and the gentrification of food and space through a case study of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York. I draw from official data sources and academic works, as well field research and observation to support my argument. In this piece I contend that structural problems such as agricultural policy and institutionalized racism contribute to the lack of access and acceptance of good food among low-income minorities. These inequalities are then magnified and accelerated in gentrifying neighborhoods, as they clash with the traditionally upscale food tastes of new residents. I ultimately find that there is fairly good access to food within my sample area, but that spaces of consumption are stratified and segregated, implying a more complex and dynamic situation than is explained by typical narratives of gentrification.

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