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Understanding Worcester’s Foodscapes

Mapping the Potential for Urban Agriculture in Worcester: A Land Inventory Assessment

Faculty Advisors: Robert Hersh, Suzanne LePage
Student Researchers: Jay Allen Ringenbach, Matthew Thomas Valcourt, Wenli Wang

This project intended to identify and present the potential for urban agriculture in the city of Worcester through the creation of a vacant, public land inventory. This was achieved by working with local stakeholders, analyzing successful examples from other cities, and utilizing ArcGIS software. Upon completion it was revealed that Worcester contains 337 vacant or partially vacant parcels. This inventory should be used to identify potential sites for food production and inform policy decisions regarding food, health, and city planning.

Analyzing Food Security in Worcester

Faculty Advisor: Robert Hersh
Student Researchers: Brandy Alexandra Warner-Hartz, David Albert Allen, James Nicholas Filice, Neel Yogesh Patel

Our study, sponsored by the Worcester Food Policy and Active Living Council (WFPALC), assessed community food security in the City of Worcester. Quantitative data from the city’s food retail outlets, including location, price, and food quality were examined against race, income, and ethnicity census data using a Geographic Information System (GIS). Qualitative data from interviews with local residents were synthesized to gain a nuanced perspective of how the city’s low income residents negotiate the food system. This study demonstrated that food insecurity is more likely to affect ethnic minority and lower income residents.