Greening Food Deserts



“Greening the Food Deserts of Tucson, Arizona” is a project that uses the city of Tucson as a case study to integrate dimensions of social justice and environmental sustainability into applied research on food access. With a quarter of the population living below the poverty line, this study was created to comprehensively improve the capacity of nongovernmental and governmental agencies in Tucson to meet the needs of populations at increased risk of food insecurity. Specifically, the project focuses on low-income, food desert regions with an emphasis on handicapped adults, women, the elderly and recent migrants.


Community partners on this project include the Community Gardens of Tucson (CGT), Compass Affordable Housing, and the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona as well as the e-network ‘Tucson Backyard Gardening’. In coordination with these community partners and by means of direct research with gardeners, the project assists in setting up a network of organizations working with low-income populations in food deserts and identifies existing barriers in meeting the social, economic and technical needs of the gardeners. The project also helps advance water conservation and the planting of native plants around garden plots to promote the creation of green spaces that improve the health of human and non-human species within a warming region.



Research team: Stephanie Buechler, Daoqin Tong, Ashley Erbe, Chloe Hein, Xuanxiao Wang, Jaclyn Mendelson and Emily Marderness
Funded by: Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice
You can download the Policy Brief developed via this project titled "Benefits and Barriers to Low-Income Populations Participation in Urban Agriculture" below.