Skip to main content

Confronting the Illusion: Identifying Food Mirages and Food Deserts in Winnipeg

September 2017
Organization: University of Winnipeg
Products: ArcGIS 10.2.2

The concept of food deserts, low-income areas with an absence of healthy food, fails to account for individuals living near healthy foods but unable to purchase them because of social deprivation. These previously unidentified areas are food mirages. The Institute of Urban Studies advanced a method to identify Winnipeg’s food mirages, broadening the conceptual understanding of barriers to accessing food. Food environments were identified by linking dissemination blocks’ network distance to supermarkets with their social deprivation score, a composite variable of poverty and mobility indicators. Combining distance and deprivation allows for the classification and mapping of these challenging food environments.