Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Tim Carter

Second Advisor

Nicolaas Mink

Third Advisor

Sheryl-Ann Stephen


The Indy East Food Desert (IEFD) appears to suffer from many common conditions noted by various scholars as food desert identifiers. Yet, its situation still remains unique. Though there is a prevalence of minority populations, low-income households, and low-education attainment levels, there are also factors of low-access, poor food options (within the limited food outlets in the neighborhoods), and poor eating habits which shape the situation of the community. In an attempt to alleviate the food desert problems, the Indy East Food Desert Coalition (IEFDC) was formed. IEFDC partnered with Butler University's Center for Urban Ecology in order to assess the coalition's conditions and its needs. This study sought to identify the unique conditions of the IEFDC communities, and offer solutions to combat the area's conditions.

The conclusions drawn from the study show that the IEFD residents are affected by several problems that result from their unhealthy eating habits. Consumption of fruits and vegetables is well below the recommended five servings per day. IEFD residents make an abundance of purchases at gas stations and fast food locations. Additionally, transportation and distance negatively influences food choices towards more convenient unhealthy foods. Finally, the study findings show that income is the greatest impediment to food access.

In order to remedy the symptoms of food deserts, the report suggests several solutions should be embraced by both community leaders and residents to ensure successful improvement in these areas. General solutions include the use of price subsidies, increasing local access, and improving education. For the IEFD, partnerships among public and private individuals or groups should be sought out. Farmer's markets and other healthy food outlets should be strategically located along bus routes. There needs to be an increase in healthy and fresh food options at food pantries. Finally, wellness coordinators should be hired to employ or expand health and nutrition information programs.