Chicago Map Society: Daniel Block, Mapping Food, Supermarkets, and Community in Chicago

Chicago Map Society Meeting
Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Access to quality groceries is a major issue in many Chicago communities. In many areas supermarkets are few and far between, and available stores often have limited variety, especially of fresh fruits and vegetables. A recent study supported by the Chicago Community Trust mapped patterns of food availability in Chicago and the suburbs. Consumers, local activists, and store owners and managers in a variety of Chicago communities were also interviewed. The findings show that patterns of food access often mirror racial and ethnic patterns in the city and suburbs and that relationships between store owners and the communities around them vary greatly between different areas of the city. These patterns are expressed both in maps and stories and paint a picture of a starkly differentiated city, but one full of community-based entrepreneurs working towards solutions.

Supported in part by a grant from the Geographical Society of Chicago – National Geographic Society Education Fund