Flint, Michigan’s Food Crisis

Retail Abandonment, Social and Economic Burdens, and Local Food-Oriented Solutions

Authored by: Richard C. Sadler

Handbook of Global Urban Health

Print publication date:  May  2019
Online publication date:  May  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138206250
eBook ISBN: 9781315465456
Adobe ISBN:


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The twin forces of neoliberalism and globalization have had profound influences on the global food system and on the fate of declining cities in the USA. Such cities are exemplary case studies of health issues and inequality because they represent areas of the most severe economic disinvestment of anywhere in postindustrial society. Simultaneously, the USA has seen striking increases in both adult and child obesity related to both physical inactivity and consumption of unhealthy foods, particularly among ethnic minorities and poor populations. In such places, particularly since the 2000s, local food systems have grown in the absence of the conventional food system to provide healthy options to the marginalized populations that remain. The case study site for this chapter is Flint, Michigan, where population and employment decline, mixed with assets of ample vacant land and increasing grassroots activism, has yielded a local food system that is different from those in the stable or growing cities in many wealthy countries.

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