Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Urban Studies


School of Urban Planning and Regional Studies

Major Professor

David Beriss

Second Advisor

Renia Ehrenfeucht

Third Advisor

Jeffrey Ehrenreich


Problems with food insecurity, such as a lack of access to healthy and affordable food in low-income neighborhoods, has been an ongoing challenge in New Orleans. The damages inflicted by Hurricane Katrina and subsequent citywide flooding on the local food system reduced the numerical count of operational full-service supermarkets and grocery stores throughout the city. The result has been a widespread presence of food deserts and grocery gaps, particularly in low-income neighborhoods. This thesis explores the emergence of food localism practices by food advocacy professionals as a capacity-building tool for New Orleans residents to increase community food security and develop a sustainable local food economy. This paper finds although alternative agro-food networks have increased the availability of healthy and locally produced foods in New Orleans, it provide evidence demonstrating their limited capacity to regularly provide healthy or affordable food in a similar manner to grocery stores in low-income neighborhoods.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.