The History of Food Systems and Accessibility in Madison, WI: 1970-Today
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The retail food landscape is a dynamic sector: Large chains are constantly forcing locally-run stores out of business, retail capital is becoming increasingly consolidated, and the number of food insecure individuals is growing. It is crucial to have knowledge of how these food landscape changes will impact vulnerable populations. The lack of literature surrounding food insecurity in Madison, WI, drove us to be the first to shed light on this topic. The issue of food insecurity has unfolded over many years, so our research captures the processes that took place in Madison (1970-2014) to create the current foodscape. Madison closely aligns with national trends in retail food sector development by decade and a stark trend of extreme racial inequity within food accessibility stands out. Differential access is not a new phenomenon, but studying this topic from a historical perspective reveals the depth of the existing food accessibility inequity in Madison.