Two professors from San Diego State University argue in a recently published academic work that farmer’s markets are “insidious” white spaces that oppress minorities through gentrification.
“Farmers’ markets are often white spaces where the food consumption habits of white people are normalized,” San Diego State professors Pascale Joassart-Marcelli and Fernando J. Bosco wrote in a recent chapter for an anthology on the harms of “environmental gentrification” according to a report from Campus Reform.
The professors claim that farmers’ markets attract higher socio-economic individuals who raise the price of goods and property in urban areas by purchasing high-cost local products by shopping at markets in such areas. In addition, locals are often priced out of participating in the farmers’ markets that take place in their community due to the exorbitant cost of the goods sold.
According to the Campus Reform report, the professors lament that racial exclusivity is reinforced via the “whiteness of farmers’ markets.” Through this and the resulting economic and racial gentrification, the professors argue, the needs of the community’s most vulnerable residents are ignored in favor of the whims of affluent shoppers who can’t wait to get their hands on some overpriced locally-sourced boysenberry jam.
“The most insidious part of this gentrification process is that alternative food initiatives work against the community activists and residents who first mobilized to fight environmental injustices and provide these amenities but have significantly less political and economic clout than developers and real estate professionals,” the professors write.