Encontrando la Comida Saludable: Identifying Food Access Barriers for the Adams County, Pennsylvania Latino Community

Gwendolyn D. Brown '11, Gettysburg College
Olivia A. Haddad '11, Gettysburg College

Submitted for ES 400 (Environmental Studies Senior Seminar) May 10, 2011


Overwhelming research indicates that recent national trends in U.S. food systems have led to the increased prevalence of processed foods and associated diet-related diseases. The effects of unhealthy diets have been distributed unevenly across the country’s socioeconomic and ethnic groups. Certain socioeconomic and ethnic groups face greater geographic, financial and cultural barriers to healthy food access. In Adams County, Pennsylvania, Latinos comprise 5.6% of the population, making them the county’s largest minority group, yet little is known about the food access barriers they face. In this study, we used a combination of surveys and focus groups with Latino residents and personal interviews with community leaders to identify the geographic, financial, and cultural barriers to food access for the county’s Latino community. We found that, though geographic and financial barriers had little effect on the community’s access to healthy food, cultural barriers presented a significant obstacle that needs to be addressed. We hope this study will inform the Adams County Food Policy Council in proposing policy measures that address specific food access issues in the county.