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Supermarkets and the Illusion of Food Access: Navigating the Foodscape with Social Assistance Recipients in HoMa, Montreal

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Supermarkets and the Illusion of Food Access: Navigating the Foodscape with Social Assistance Recipients in HoMa, Montreal

Roussy, Jean-Sebastien (2014) Supermarkets and the Illusion of Food Access: Navigating the Foodscape with Social Assistance Recipients in HoMa, Montreal. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Food access researchers define “food deserts” as impoverished neighbourhoods that lack close physical proximity to a food retailer. Residents of these neighbourhoods are forced to travel greater distances for food or be faced with purchasing lower-quality food at higher prices. However, most research takes a wholly quantitative approach to identifying these so-called “food deserts”, and leaves out the experiences of marginalized individuals. Through a qualitative analysis of social assistance recipients’ experiences with food procurement we can identify potential barriers to food access. Two major barriers emerged from the constant comparison: (1) lower-quality specials on Check Week and (2) higher food prices on Check Week. To verify the validity of participant claims empirical evidence was collected. Metro and Super C circulars were collected over 31 weeks. Through statistical analysis it was found that the items marketed on the front pages of these circulars were of lower-quality and higher cost at Metro, while Super C showed more parity. The second method involved collecting weekly prices over 13 weeks at both stores. The analysis of the weekly prices showed higher prices at both stores during Check Week. The empirical evidence legitimizes the experiences of social assistance recipients in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. The contradiction of social assistance recipients paying more for the same foods that middle-class individuals can wait to buy on special has a consequence on the spatial patterning of food access. Social assistance recipients’ navigate through a “foodscape” that cycle between “food oasis” and “food mirage” within a single month.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Geography, Planning and Environment
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Roussy, Jean-Sebastien
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A. Sc.
Program:Geography, Urban & Environmental Studies
Date:August 2014
Thesis Supervisor(s):Nash, Alan
Keywords:food desert, food access, foodscape, social assistance, Montreal, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, grocery store,
ID Code:979053
Deposited By: JEAN-SEBASTIEN ROUSSY
Deposited On:11 Nov 2014 15:30
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:48
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