Prairie Outpost

A website for the Prairie Outpost podcast as well as Dylon's writings

Institute of Urban Studies report on food security

In my latest article for The Herald I discuss a report by the University of Winnipeg’s Institute of Urban Studies on food security. For inquiring minds, the report is “Confronting the Illusion: Developing a Method to Identify Food Mirages and Food Deserts in Winnipeg“.

The report was authored by Kyle Wiebe and Jino Distasio, with mapping work done by Ryan Shirtliffe.

The research approach in the report consisted of the following

  1. Identifying regional and national chain supermarkets in Winnipeg.
  2. Computing the dissemination block distances to these supermarkets.
  3. Identifying areas of deprivation with a social deprivation index.

Dissemination blocks are areas used by Statistics Canada and defined as the “area equivalent to a city block bounded by intersecting streets” by the agency.

Measuring at the dissemination block level really allowed the researchers to get a fine-grained analysis of how close food was to residents.

While not relevant for most of Elmwood (much of which is classified by the report as moderate to severe food deserts), the report adds some conceptual clarity to food availability discussions by noting much of the inner-city is more of a “food mirage” (grocery stores are nearby but prices serve as a barrier) than a “food desert” (stores not within walking distance).


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