Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Human Performance and Health Education

First Advisor

Yvette Hyter

Second Advisor

Chris Dilley


The social problem being studied is food access in the U.S. Midwest in comparison to food access in Western Africa. In the Midwest U.S., there is a problem of food deserts. There are primarily urban areas where there is a lack of physical access to healthy foods because there is a lack of stores or vendors that sell it. An investigation exposed whether or not the same problem exists in Western Africa. The research question is the following: What role does food sovereignty play in exposing the consequences of globalization, and in conveying solutions to the consequences of globalization in West Africa and U.S. Midwest? Through the assumptions and principles of critical social theory, data were gathered through observations of the food distributions in street markets, grocery stores, and conducted ethnographic interviews. The results of these data have shown that the problem in Western Africa is not one of physical food access, but of a monetary access. Also, in the United States, the term food desert has been reported to be an insufficient term in that transportation is not incorporated into the definition. Conclusions indicate that there is more research required on policy changes which tackle the root causes of food access issues in the United States as well as in Western Africa, which stem from a globalized market.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access