Eliminating Food Deserts May Take More than a Grocery Store: AAEA Annual Meeting

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New AAEA member research on efforts to provide consumers fresh food near home

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“There have been a lot of policies put in place to eradicate food deserts, but these policies may not be as effective as leaders expect them to be.”

There is an active movement nationwide to eliminate the growing problem of food deserts, which the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines as a low-income area where residents have low access to a supermarket or grocery store.

There is current legislation on the local and federal levels in an attempt to expanding access to fruits and vegetables in areas that are under-served by the industry. But are these policies effective?

That is the focus of new research by AAEA member Linlin Fan of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. “The Welfare Impact of Expanding Access to Fruits and Vegetables in Food Deserts” looks at how consumers respond to better access to fruits and vegetables.

“There have been a lot of policies put in place to eradicate food deserts,” Fan said, “but these policies may not be as effective as leaders expect them to be.”

In fact, there is something Fan says is “ten times more important” than the proximity of a grocery store.

Fan will present her research as part of the 2016 Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) Annual Meeting in Boston, July 31 – August 2. This session is Monday, August 1, at 4:30 PM at the Marriott Copley Place, in the Maine Room on the fifth floor.

If you are interested in setting up an interview before or during the meeting, please contact Jay Saunders in the AAEA Business Office.

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