Coding of place, racialization, and social barriers in small-scale neighborhood groceries
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This thesis explores the limitations of the current food desert literature by seeking to determine what factors aside from Euclidean distance between place of residence and nearest large-scale grocery store impacts food access and food purchasing decisions. I determine that neighborhood grocery stores are under-recognized in the study of food landscapes. Via interview and participant observation data collected at two neighborhood grocery stores in Athens, Georgia, I found that the following affected people’s shopping decisions to a greater degree than distance alone: 1) transportation and landscape navigation issues; 2) knowledge of the stores; 3) the cultural appropriateness of the products; 4) the “ethics” of the stores and how they are run; 5) prices. The data also reveals that the way the grocery stores are coded, particularly in regards to race, can create a strong deterrent for shoppers who feel “out of place” in these spaces.