Bachelor of Arts
Department or Program
Earth Science and Geography Department
Mary Ann Cunningham
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.
Loewen, Samantha C., "White Food, Black Spaces: Food, Privilege, And Gentrification In Crown Heights, Brooklyn" (2013). Senior Capstone Projects. 243.