Measuring Elderly People's Food Access in Urban Food Environments: The Potential Benefits of Urban Agriculture



Published Jan 15, 2019
Yoshifumi Ikejima


Abstract. 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.

How to Cite

Ikejima, Y. (2019) “Measuring Elderly People’s Food Access in Urban Food Environments: The Potential Benefits of Urban Agriculture”, The International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food. Paris, France, 25(1). doi: 10.48416/ijsaf.v25i1.23.
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