Date of Award

Summer 8-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Timothy Hawthorne

Second Advisor

Dr. Jeremy Diam

Third Advisor

Dr. Lawrence Kiage


Local food systems can play an important role in the environmental sustainability and human health of communities. This study aims to evaluate connections between the local food system and the retail environment in Southwest Atlanta, Georgia (USA) through mixed methods research. Agriculture site interviews and field research evaluate issues surrounding the local food system from a qualitative perspective. A mobile Geographic Information Systems (GIS) framework is developed to evaluate access and disparities in the retail food landscape from a quantitative perspective. This framework can be leveraged by residents and community stakeholders towards strategic primary data and research needs. In using both qualitative and quantitative methods, a more comprehensive study of the local food system and overall sustainability of communities is enabled. The results of this study may better inform planning and policy decisions and serve as a research model for use in other geographies.