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A hand reaches for a pepper in a display of yellow and red peppers.

Hungry to get there: food access and transportation in immigrant communities


Fernando Burga's recent work seeks to "imagine food as a central aspect of our lives and cities," investigating the intersection of urban planning with immigration, equity, and food systems. Despite the immense disparities faced by immigrant groups and communities of color when it comes to accessing healthy and culturally relevant food, Burga found a relative dearth of qualitative data in how these communities actually experience getting to food access points. Burga, an assistant professor in the urban and regional planning area at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, carried out research workshops with Latino immigrants in both rural Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro region, using a focus group, a graphic survey, and participatory mapping exercises to identify patterns of accessibility and actualize the "foodscapes" within participants' daily lives. Burga urges planners to consider a multidimensional approach to food systems and transportation policy work: "Qualitative research can lead planners to consider agency, empathy, and advocacy as mechanisms to reconsider how cities are made."