Date of Award

4-2012

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Lucius Hallett IV

Second Advisor

Dr. Gregory Veeck

Third Advisor

Dr. Benjamin Ofori-Amoah

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

This thesis examines the perceptions of residents inside and outside of a USDA-defined food desert in Lansing, MI related to fresh and frozen produce access. Through an online and paper survey, Lansing-area residents ranked their perceived level of access to fresh produce, their perception of their own health, and reported their general daily intake of fresh produce. Through several statistical analyses, this thesis was able to determine that residents residing within the study area in downtown Lansing had statistically significant variations in their perception of access to fresh and frozen produce, traveled longer to their preferred primary and secondary food retailers, and self-reported similar fresh produce intake and perceptions of health when compared with other area residents. Car ownership was also found to have significant impacts on perception of access, and, including age, a participant's perception of health. Other factors that were analyzed included level of worry associated with access, travel times to food retailers, and the types of stores visited by residents inside and outside the study area. Results indicated that residency inside the study area, travel time, level of education and income did not influence fresh produce consumption among participants, nor their perception of health, and that the severity of this food desert may not be as extensive as other food deserts.

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