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Professors Claim Farmers Markets Are Racist ‘White Spaces’    

  By: Katie Petrick
   Published : January 9, 2018

In the new year, many of us resolve to eat healthier. That begins with getting ample servings of our fruits and vegetables. And maybe you choose to purchase those foods at your local farmers market. Well, two professors are trying to squash this (pun intended), because you know, racism.

Two San Diego State University professors claim that farmers markets are “white spaces where the food consumption habits of white people are normalized.” Pascale Joassart-Marcelli and Fernando J Bosco, professors of geography at SDSU, lay their racist claims in a chapter of Just Green Enough: Urban Development and Environmental Gentrification. The anthology’s editors argue “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.”

Joassart-Marcelli and Bosco’s chapter specifically argues farmers markets’ role in the environmental improvement which can then lead to gentrification. Because of the “white habitus” in the markets, white people’s food consumption habits can be reinforced, as stated in Campus Reform’s report on the issue. The professors assert farmers markets as “exclusionary” spaces since local residents may not be able to afford the food and/or they may feel excluded.

With a case study exclusive to San Diego, these professors brandish all of the nation’s farmers markets as places not welcoming to households unless the inhabitants are of high socio-economic status and their skin color peachy-toned. The professors’ research, as reported by Campus Reform, found that 44 percent of San Diego’s farmers markets are in locations with high rates of gentrification.

In one fell swoop, these two professors lay affront to millions of Americans because of their skin color. They insinuate that fruits and vegetables belong only to white people.

Joassart-Marcelli and Bosco would benefit from looking at research conducted by Economic Research Service. In the latest available data (2015) on the trends of local and regional food systems, research found that food prices in direct-to-consumer markets, of which farmers markets are included, were lower than retail stores, on average, across all seasons and regions of the country. The professors failed to address that quite often farmers markets accept WIC checks and EBT as forms of payment. This allows and encourages people of low socio-economic status to eat real food and get nutrients necessary to be healthy.

But the fruits and vegetables that can be purchased at these markets at lower costs are somehow promoting eating habits of white people. Did not former First Lady Michelle Obama try to artichoke us with her healthy lunches and lunch plate that was halfway filled with fruits and vegetables? The fruits and vegetables on the plate were not segregated by the race of people who eats them because we were all told to eat all the colors of the rainbow.

And, of course, those vendors, the ones who are slinging these racist fruits and vegetables must be brought to justice, too. They are swimming in cash piles from those high socio-economic pale-skinned customers. Right?

Agriculture data found that 70 percent of farms marketing locally only used farmers markets and/or community supported agriculture (CSA) arrangements. For 85 percent of these farms, their gross income is below $75,000 (2012). In layman’s terms, these farms are not in the farmers markets to make millions. They work on the farms and bring products to the market because they have true passion for providing fruits and vegetables to whomever would like to eat them. But according to Joassart-Marcelli and Bosco skin color is what matters most.

After laying the claim that white people and farmers markets are essentially to blame for the created gentrification spaces, the professors offer no solutions to curing this apparent disease. But, before they kaled it quits, the professors state that defying gentrification “requires slow and inclusive steps that balance new initiatives and neighborhood stability to make cities ‘just green enough.’”

Way to get in that last plug for the book title. Also, that’s racist.

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