Professors Claim Farmers’ Markets Are 'Exclusionary' And Normalize White Eating Habits

ashley.rae | December 28, 2017
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While there has been much debate about “food deserts” in low-income communities over the past few years, two professors at San Diego State University claim farmers’ markets are perpetuating “environmental gentrification” by attempting to bring fresh food into those neighborhoods.

Campus Reform’s Toni Airaksinen reports that in a new anthology titled “Just Green Enough,” SDSU geography professors Pascale Joassart-Marcelli and Fernando Bosco claim residents of low-income communities are being displaced due to “environmental gentrification”—such as farmers’ markets.

In their chapter, Joassart-Marcelli and Bosco allegedly argue that farmers’ markets are “exclusionary” because people living in low-income areas may not be able to “afford the food and/or feel excluded from these new spaces.”

The pair write, “Farmers’ markets in particular have been envisioned as a way to improve food security and contribute to greener cities, although there is growing evidence that they are exclusionary spaces that cater primarily to the affluent, white and gentrifying class.”

In their section subtitled “Alternative food spaces, white privilege and green gentrification,” Joassart-Marcelli and Bosco write that farmers’ markets “often embrace a white habitus and a neoliberal urban agenda, which contradicts the social justice goals of locavorism.”

They note, ”Cultural geographers in particular have made important contributions by showing that farmers’ markets are often white spaces where the food consumption habits of white people are normalized, leading to social exclusion.”

Therefore, by farmers’ markets bringing in fresh food, they’re actually normalizing the habits of white people, which therefore causes non-white people to feel excluded.

At the end of their section on white privilege and gentrification, Joassart-Marcelli and Bosco claim that farmers’ markets “might actually contribute to injustice by encouraging gentrification.”

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