Retail Inequality: Reframing the Food Desert Debate (Hardcover)

Retail Inequality: Reframing the Food Desert Debate By Kenneth H. Kolb Cover Image

Retail Inequality: Reframing the Food Desert Debate (Hardcover)


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Retail Inequality examines the failure of recent efforts to improve Americans' diets by increasing access to healthy food. Based on exhaustive research, this book by Kenneth H. Kolb documents the struggles of two Black neighborhoods in Greenville, South Carolina. For decades, outsiders ignored residents' complaints about the unsavory retail options on their side of town—until the well-intentioned but flawed "food desert" concept took hold in popular discourse. Soon after, new allies arrived to help, believing that grocery stores and healthier options were the key to better health. These efforts, however, did not change neighborhood residents' food consumption practices. Retail Inequality explains why and also outlines the history of deindustrialization, urban public policy, and racism that are the cause of unequal access to food today. Kolb identifies retail inequality as the crucial concept to understanding today’s debates over gentrification and community development. As this book makes clear, the battle over food deserts was never about food—it was about equality.
Kenneth H. Kolb is Professor of Sociology at Furman University. He is the author of Moral Wages: The Emotional Dilemmas of Victim Advocacy and Counseling.
Product Details ISBN: 9780520384170
ISBN-10: 0520384172
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: December 14th, 2021
Pages: 278
Language: English
"Kolb helps dispel the food desert media frame that implies that food desert residents choose poor diets. Rather, the problem is racism."

— Symbolic Interaction

"Kolb drives home an oft-ignored consideration: Low-income neighborhoods deserve the same food options as wealthy neighborhoods, regardless of whether that leads to healthier diets."
— Civil Eats