Background: The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank (GPCFB) developed the Green Grocer mobile food market to address limited access to fresh, affordable food options in local communities. GPCFB and researchers from the University of Pittsburgh established a partnership for Green Grocer implementation and evaluation, including application of geospatial techniques to help identify locations of stops for Green Grocer.

Objectives: We used geospatial analyses to identify locations in Allegheny County with limited food access as potential stops for the Green Grocer mobile food market.

Methods: Using census, county, city, and public health data, we conducted a spatial overlay analysis based on five key metrics: poverty/income rates, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) use, obesity rates, grocery/supermarket access, and mass transit access. We first defined our base target areas by finding the intersection of tracts with high rates of poverty, SNAP use, and obesity. To obtain our final recommended target neighborhoods, we then calculated the symmetric difference between these base target areas and areas of low grocery access and transit use.

Results: As identified from our overlay analysis, six neighborhoods became the targeted pilot sites for Green Grocer. These particular communities had higher poverty rates than Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, and Pennsylvania averages. A separate pilot evaluation was conducted after the initial sites were selected to examine additional population characteristics and to help determine any modifications to the program.

Conclusions: Geospatial overlay analysis identified key locations to help the GPCFB target allocation of fresh food and produce. When used in tandem with other programmatic information and processes, this data-driven approach was essential in the development and identification of distribution of resources.


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pp. 109-115
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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