Professors at San Diego State University are reportedly criticizing farmer’s markets for contributing to the oppression of racial minority groups, according to Campus Reform.
In a new anthology titled “Just Green Enough: Urban Development and Environmental Gentrification”, which includes features from several different professors, San Diego State University geography professors Pascale Joassart-Marcelli and Fernando J. Bosco apparently assert that farmers markets may hurt the very communities they were originally intended to aid.
The critique highlights the process of so-called “environmental gentrification”. In other words, the process by which environmental improvements “lead to the displacement of long term residents,” according to Campus Reform.
The anthology’s description on Routledge.com, argues that environmental improvements, like access to the high quality, fresh food available at farmer’s markets, will essentially increase property values. Therefore drawing in a higher income bracket, while pushing out the long-term inhabitants of the community.
“While global urban development increasingly takes on the mantle of sustainability and ‘green urbanism,’ both the ecological and equity impacts of these developments are often overlooked,” the description reads.
“One result is what has been called environmental gentrification, a process in which environmental improvements lead to increased property values and the displacement of long-term residents,” it continues. “The specter of environmental gentrification is now at the forefront of urban debates about how to accomplish environmental improvements without massive displacement.”
Farmer’s markets are often established in “food deserts,” low income, urban communities where the only grocery store may not have affordable fruits and vegetables of good quality.
As reported by Campus Reform, the professors argue that farmers’ markets are “white spaces where the food consumption habits of white people are normalized,” which leads to a “white habitus” that supposedly excludes minorities.
Bosco and Joassart-Marcelli reportedly conducted their research throughout San Diego, apparently claiming that 44 percent of the California city’s farmer’s markets are located in census tracts “with a high rate of gentrification,” according to Campus Reform.
The numbers have apparently lead the professors to discern that such developments are drawing people from a higher socioeconomic class, which is contributing to the gentrification of these areas, forcing minority communities out.
The professors wrote, “The most insidious part of this gentrification process is that alternative food initiatives work against the community activists and residents who first mobilized to fight environmental injustices and provide these amenities but have significantly less political and economic clout than developers and real estate professionals” reports Campus Reform.
According to the book’s description, the anthology was designed to recognize the possible “social justice” problems and look for alternative forms of greening.
“A ‘just green enough’ strategy focuses explicitly on social justice and environmental goals as defined by local communities, those people who have been most negatively affected by environmental disamenities, with the goal of keeping them in place to enjoy any environmental improvements” it reads.
The description continues by stating: “It is not about short-changing communities, but about challenging the veneer of green that accompanies many projects with questionable ecological and social justice impacts, and looking for alternative, sometimes surprising, forms of greening such as creating green spaces and ecological regeneration within protected industrial zones.”
However, Campus Reform reporter Toni Airaksinen states that the professors fail at providing concrete solutions.
“The professors stop short of offering specific remedies, but do conclude that ‘curbing gentrification is a vexing task’ that requires the involvement of both community members and local governments,” Airaksinen writes.
“‘Strong community involvement,’ they say, is necessary in order to ensure that ‘the needs of the poorest … residents are prioritized,’ while local governments can enact ‘equitable zoning policies, rent-control laws, and property tax reforms in favor of long-time homeowners’ to combat the trend toward gentrification.” (For more from the author of “California Professors Are Now Claiming Farmers’ Markets Are Racist” please click HERE)