Date of Award


Document Type



Environmental Studies

Thesis Advisor

Myrna H. Hall


Food security is defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as access by all members of the household to enough food to live an active, healthy life at all times. Food security has also been identified as an important public health concern, subsequently amplifying interest in identifying communities with limited accessibility to quality food retailers. The primary focus of this analysis was to identify communities of heightened food security concern in Syracuse, NY based on three measures of physical accessibility: proximity to the nearest grocer, diversity of grocers within 1km, and variety of grocers based on the average distance to the three nearest grocers; and social deprivation. Further, I hypothesized areas with the greatest social deprivation would also exhibit reduced physical accessibility to quality food retailers. Spatial analysis was conducted using Environmental Systems Research Inc. (ESRI) ArcMap 10 software. Twenty-five percent of census tracts throughout Syracuse exhibit high or very high food security concern. These communities are clustered predominantly in the southern portion of the city, although additional areas of concern can be found in the northwest and eastern parts of Syracuse. Although the majority of these communities exhibit high levels of social deprivation, some also illustrate the lowest levels of deprivation. As a result, the communities of food security concern identified through this analysis are not representative of traditional “food deserts,” but rather a combination of “food deserts” and “food hinterlands.” There was no correlation between social deprivation and physical accessibility to quality food retailers observed within this analysis.