Call for Papers –the Journal of Public Affairs – special issue on Food Deserts/Security

Deadline: April 1st, 2018

What is the Special Issue about?

Academia, governments, and private enterprises are increasingly interested in addressing the issues surrounding food insecurity and nutritional insufficiency. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a “food desert” is defined as a geographic area with limited or nonexistent access to healthy, affordable, nutritious food options. These neighborhoods are most often found in low-income, ethnic, or racial minority areas. Rural communities, even those that appear to have an abundance of farms, may also experience a food desert due to a lack of local distribution and poor access to transportation. Other issues such as physical and social environments and misplaced government policies can also contribute to food and nutrition insecurity.

The inability of many citizens to provide healthy and balanced meals for their families is becoming a global concern due to the multiple consequences of inadequate nutrition at the beginning of life and across the lifespan in terms of learning and growth. Poor consumption of healthy foods is associated with obesity and major chronic diseases – diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. The major role of weight status in chronic conditions forces us to consider obesity-related behaviors such as lack of exercise and sleep, given the evidence that sedentary lifestyle and poor sleep contribute to obesity. This multi-faceted problem remains complex and controversial, but there is some consensus developing around the belief that food insecurity and poor nutrition is interrelated with many social determinants for individuals and communities, making it difficult to address realistic solutions without acknowledging root causes.

Food security and healthy food consumption is related to access to nutritious food, knowledge, skills and household resources to support healthy nutrition, and competing priorities related to the challenges of living in poverty. Consumer food choices add complexity and are influenced by income, availability/mobility, time, convenience, knowledge and skills as well as culture, ethnicity, tradition, and customs. Other key behavior factors include food familiarity, enjoyment, satiation, and shelf life.

Grocery store location decisions depend on demand, costs, zoning, and scale; sales of alcohol, tobacco, and energy-dense snacks may contribute to profitability. Multiple alternatives such as bodegas, urban gardens, farmers markets, food co-ops, mobile markets, community kitchens, and online sales provide various levels of affordability and nutrient quality. However, utility, access and sustainability of these alternatives are variable and understudied.

To begin examining this topic, a Symposium on Food Desert/Security was held at the University at Albany, State University of New York on June 5, 2017 with the theme “Bringing Together Diverse Voices: Forging a Consensus on Problems and Solutions.” This Special Issue intends to further explore the range of possible approaches that are both practical and effective in relieving the effects of the basic human need for adequate and healthy nutritional support.

Examples of possible themes

Preference will be given to papers addressing public policy. Within that domain, the following themes are examples of topics of interest: • Changing knowledge, attitude, and behavior • Consumer issues (demand, consumption) • Cost (supply, distribution, purchase, etc.) • Distribution channels and methods • Entrepreneurship • External funding • Food supply • Public policies • Technology • Rural planning • Social and cultural determinants • Urban planning

Submission, deadlines, and review process

The submission of original conceptual and empirical papers is welcomed, as are case studies with a clearly developed and communicated contribution and relevance to food deserts and security. Depending on the nature of the submission, papers should be based on a comprehensive body of literature, sound theoretical underpinnings, robust conceptual thinking, and strong empirical investigation and analysis to help set the future agenda for research in the field.

All manuscripts will be judged according to their relevance and rigor and their capacity to enhance the reputation of the JPA. All papers will be subject to an initial editorial review and subsequent double-blind peer review process. All papers must also be submitted with the understanding that they are original, unpublished works and that they are not being submitted elsewhere. Submissions should not be more than 6,000 words long (including references).

Deadline for the submission of full papers is April 1st, 2018.

Call for reviewers

We are also soliciting individuals willing to review papers for this Special Issue. A rubric will be provided, and all reviewers will be recognized in the issue.

For submission details please see JPA’s Guidelines for Authors:

For further information and to discuss the appropriateness of any potential papers or interest in reviewing, please contact the guest co-editors Paul Miesing, School of Business, University at Albany-SUNY paul.miesing or Janine Jurkowski, School of Public Health, University at Albany-SUNY jjurkowski.