“Food access” refers to the physical and economic ability to meet one’s dietary needs in a manner that is culturally appropriate and allows sufficient choice of food groups. Food access is achieved when a family or individual has economic and transportation means to buy appropriate food; time and personal safety to shop; and a food provider that meets their needs. Every eater has his or her own story of food access, whether he drives to the grocery store or she takes the bus to harvest from a community garden. These maps explore the patterns and possibilities of Providence food access.

The audio clips highlighted here illustrate the opportunities and obstacles immigrant communities in Providence face whilst getting hold of the foods they need and love. Note: Audio works best using Chrome browser.

An illustrated map of food access in Providence layering 6 metrics to visualize the food environment. The map shows areas that are labeled “food deserts” because they are low-income, far from a grocery store, and many households do not have access to a vehicle, and a colored scale of neighborhood food availability based on corner store survey data using the USDA Thrifty Meal Plan Market Basket. This data is placed in the context of Providence community gardens and emergency food sources, and the location of supermarkets, to get an overview of the distribution of food resources across the city. This landscape brings forth the idea of “food topography” that describes areas of higher and lower levels of food access with nuanced and locally relevant features, recognizing that there is no true “desert” in Providence.

An illustrated guide to food sovereignty with a basic overview of its role and potential in Providence. Food sovereignty, both as a term and a movement, is typically situated in rural communities and economies, but can be utilized and explored by urban residents. This maps out some of the ways that food sovereignty can be conceptualized by and applied to Providence.

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