Food deserts are known areas where it is difficult to buy affordable, high quality, and nutritious foods. However, many food scholars have overlooked the issues of defining what affordable, high quality, and nutritious foods are, as well as underlying social and economic inequalities when analyzing these areas and the communities in them. These are important omissions given the fact that low income and minority communities are disproportionately affected by food desert areas in terms of food insecurity and health disparities. Using organic food as an exemplar of high quality, safe and nutritious foods, I present a literature review on the nutrition and safety differences between organic and conventional food products to understand if there are benefits to consuming a higher proportion of organic foods. Then, using the city of Syracuse as a case study, a sample of organic and conventional food is collected from supermarkets in several different zip codes. I also collected data on the median incomes of each zip code. The results show that organic food is on average more expensive per pound than conventional food, as median income increases the number of available organic products increases, and the average organic price per dollar of median income is 32% higher than the conventional price per dollar of median income. The implications of these findings are discussed and policy recommendations are presented.
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