Date of Graduation

5-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences

Department

Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness

Advisor/Mentor

Popp, Dr. Jennie

Committee Member/Reader

Thomsen, Dr. Michael

Committee Member/Second Reader

Fang, Dr. Di

Committee Member/Third Reader

Durand-Morat, Dr. Alvaro

Abstract

Abstract

­­­­­­­­­ Nearly 10% of Americans reside in low-income urban food deserts which are low-income areas that lack access to affordable and nutritious foods. Food deserts in Arkansas contribute to a food insecurity rate above the national average, making it one of the most food insecure states in the country. Efforts to alleviate food deserts have included working with supermarkets to construct stores in underserved areas, encouraging the growth of farmers’ markets, and passing the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI). The inability of these programs to provide food desert residents with a variety of accessible and affordable food items year-round indicates a new program may be necessary. Increased internet usage and consumer interest in sharing based companies contribute to the idea of a sharing, or peer-to-peer (P2P) style food redistribution program. The objective of this study is to identify which of the 186,211census blocks in the state of Arkansas are food deserts and best suited for and in the most need, based on an identified set of criteria, of a P2P food redistribution program. To complete the objective a multi-criteria decision analysis was conducted using population, internet access, vulnerable communities, and vehicle availability as criteria. Based on the results of this study, it is recommended that Pulaski County is amongst the first to be targeted for a P2P food redistribution pilot program. This recommendation is based upon the close proximity of priority areas, transportation access, ethnic/racial diversity, and the number of possible collection locations in Pulaski County. This study may be used to serve as a baseline to a future study that examines the location of P2P food redistribution collection points and the number of consumers they could reach.

Keywords

food desert, Arkansas, peer-to-peer, collaborative consumption, multi-criteria analysis

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