Accessing the food systems in urban and rural minnesotan communities

Chery Smith, Hannah Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective: Explore how urban and rural Minnesotans access the food system and to investigate whether community infrastructure supports a healthful food system. Design: Eight (4 urban and 4 rural) focus groups were conducted. Setting and Participants: Eight counties with urban influence codes of 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, and 10. Fifty-nine (urban, n = 27; rural, n = 32) adults. The sample was of mixed race and had a range of incomes. Almost half of the sample was obese. Main Outcome Measure: Food systems access and the role of community infrastructure, civic engagement, and reciprocal relationships in food provisioning in counties with different urban influence codes. Analyses: Themes and subthemes were identified through emerging concepts. Results: Food access varied based on rurality and community infrastructure. Three themes emerged: community infrastructure around the conventional food system and food provisioning, alternative food resources, and perceptions of the effect food and of the influence diet and exercise have on health. Conclusions and Implications: Civic engagement and community infrastructure affected food access. Rural residents rely more on retail grocery stores, gardening, hunting, and informal food exchange systems, whereas urban residents rely more on the retail grocery stores and food safety net systems. Hunting and gardening may contribute valuable nutrients to the diet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)492-504
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2011


  • Civic engagement
  • Food system
  • Health
  • Hunting

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