Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Leadership & Policy Studies

Committee Chair

Charisse Gulosino

Committee Member

Dustin Hornbeck

Committee Member

Carolyn Kaldon

Committee Member

Esra Ozdenerol


Food insecurity is of great concern in this country as more and more children, seniors, and families experience inadequate nutritious food to live healthy, productive lives. A case study of Mid-South Food Bank examines the concept of food bank deserts and looks at how children and families in low-income neighborhoods might have access to food. Previous definitions of food bank deserts have neglected to include two criteria present in food deserts, that is low-income and low accessibility to food resources. Utilizing Geographic Information Systems (GIS), this paper will define, create, and analyze spatial connections between bus stops, food bank partner agencies, and Title I schools, my construct for low-income families. Specifically, I use the Proximity toolset in ArcGIS Pro 3.0 to operationalize the low-access and low-income standards across neighborhood schools in the contexts of food bank deserts. Understanding the phenomenon of food bank deserts can be seen in terms of Robert Sampson’s (2012) focus on ecological differentiation, defined in terms of urban inequalities and clustering by social characteristics. His book Great American City demonstrates the powerful effects of ecologically concentrated disadvantage on a wide range of outcomes and social behavior in what became known as social area analysis. Sampson’s key dimensions of neighborhood difference include poverty, family structure and life cycle (female-headed households, child density), residential stability (home ownership and tenure), and racial/ethnic composition. Assessing the work of Midsouth Food Bank and its partner agencies in three midsouth counties; Shelby County, TN; DeSoto County, MS; and Crittenden, AR; and using the criteria for a food bank desert: 1) high SNI index (low income) 2) no transportation, no accessibility to a bus stop 3) outside 1.5-mile radius of Title I school; not within walking distance to a food bank partner agency, we find that, although, not all food bank partner agencies are located in high SNI, have accessibility to bus stops for students, and are within 1.5 mile walking distance from school to pantry, most pantries are strategically located to serve those in need. It is urgent to expand our children’s access to food in high-poverty areas, as we become more aware that children in some of our neighborhoods go without meals.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest.


Open Access