Profs: Farmers’ Markets Cause ‘Environmental Gentrification’

Toni Airaksinen, Campus Reform, December 27, 2017

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Two San Diego State University (SDSU) professors recently criticized farmers’ markets for being “white spaces” that contribute to the oppression of minorities.

Pascale Joassart-Marcelli and Fernando J Bosco, two geography professors at SDSU, criticized the “whiteness of farmers’ markets” in a chapter for Just Green Enough, a new anthology published by Routledge in December.

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… Bosco and Joassart-Marcelli argue, saying farmers’ markets are “exclusionary” since locals may not be able to “afford the food and/or feel excluded from these new spaces.”

This social exclusion is reinforced by the “whiteness of farmers’ markets” and the “white habitus” that they can reinforce, the professors elaborate, describing farmers’ markets as “white spaces where the food consumption habits of white people are normalized.”

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Citing research they conducted in San Diego, however, Bosco and Joassart-Marcelli claim that 44 percent of the city’s farmers’ markets are located in census tracts with a high rate of gentrification, leading them to conclude that farmers’ markets “attract households from higher socio-economic backgrounds, raising property values and displacing low-income residents and people of color.”

“The most insidious part of this gentrification process is that alternative food initiatives work against the community activists and residents who first mobilized to fight environmental injustices and provide these amenities but have significantly less political and economic clout than developers and real estate professionals

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“Ultimately,” they conclude, countering gentrification “requires slow and inclusive steps that balance new initiatives and neighborhood stability to make cities ‘just green enough.’”

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