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International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food

Published by Michigan State University

Official publication of the Research Committee on Sociology of Agriculture and Food (RC-40)
of the International Sociological Association (ISA)

Editors: Raymond Jussaume, Claire Marris and Katerina Psarikidou

Frequency: 3 issues per year 
ISSN: 0798-1759

Volume 25, Issue 1 (2019)

Measuring Elderly People's Food Access in Urban Food Environments:

The Potential Benefits of Urban Agriculture                                                                                                                       21-41

Authors: Yoshifumi Ikejima

Affiliations: Department of Economics, Yokohama National University

Abstract            PDF


This study aims to examine food access among urban residents in Japan – especially elderly residents – and to explore the potential benefits of urban agriculture in alleviating problems that relate to shopping for fresh food. In Japan, which has a high population density, urban agriculture has a locational advantage: many produce stands owned by individual farmers and farmers’ markets are located close to urban residents, and it is convenient to visit these outlets to purchase fresh and healthy food at affordable prices. This study assesses how many people face insufficient access to fresh, healthful food, and how many people could benefit from local agricultural outlets. To that end, this study employs geographic information system tools to calculate, in detail, the number of people in food desert areas or in areas where people could otherwise benefit from local agricultural outlets. According to this study’s results, in two study areas, approximately 60% of those aged 65 years or more reside far from food stores for daily shopping. This analysis sheds light on the difficulties that many face in shopping. Improving access to fresh food through the use of local agricultural outlets is one of the advantages of urban agriculture. In identifying the impact of improving food access via urban agriculture, this study quantitatively verified, using a realworld case, that it is possible to pinpoint the beneficial effects of urban agriculture against social disparities. This study’s findings vis-à-vis the effects of agri-oases on food security among urban elderly people point to urban agriculture’s contribution to environments with insufficient food supplies.

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