Access to Food and Other Necessities

Food and accessibility to it is an important indicator of the quality of one’s life as well as convenience.  For this topic I looked into the different types of food stores, such as supermarkets, warehouse grocery stores, limited assortment supermarkets superettes, and farmers markets.  For other necessities I looked into conventional drug stores, natural health and wellness stores, home improvement stores and liquor stores for the reasons of having access to health supplies, repair materials for one’s home and availability of alcohol to each area of the neighborhood.

For clarification, by definition a supermarket is a full line self-service grocery store with annual sales volume of over 2 million.  A warehouse grocery store has limited service with focus on price appeal of products in their original shipping carton, as opposed to individually placed on shelves as with a conventional supermarket.  Limited assortment supermarket is a limited selection of items and a reduced variety of categories, usually in health and beauty, cleaning supplies and paper products, with accentuation on low prices.  A superette is essentially a mom and pop corner store, with very limited selection of food, usually just snacks, deli, canned and highly processed foods.  And a conventional drug store is a store in resemblance to chains such as Rite Aid or CVS.

For the Kensington neighborhood there are some disparities between the accessibility to food and other necessities between the Fishtown and Old Richmond areas and the Kensington and East Kensington areas of the neighborhood.

The Fishtown and Olde Richmond areas have 2 supermarkets, 1 warehouse grocery store, 1 limited assortment supermarket, 5 superettes, 2 farmers markets, 3 conventional drug stores, 13 natural health and wellness stores, 1 home improvement store and 3 liquor stores.

The Kensington and East Kensington areas have 4 supermarkets, 10 superettes, 0 farmers markets 3 conventional drug stores, 0 health and wellness stores, 3 home improvement stores, and 12 liquor stores.

To begin with, the Fishtown and Old Richmond areas of the Kensington neighborhood are comparatively more affluent because of gentrification, with greater access to a wider range of food and other necessities which is reflected in the number of farmers markets and natural health and wellness stores that are available in the area.

For the Kensington and East Kensington areas there are more supermarkets available than in the Fishtown and Olde Richmond areas. This may be because of the greater population density in the area. However, the supermarkets are not centrally located in the designated areas of Kensington and East Kensington, they are more located on the borderline with the neighborhood of Port Richmond.  Therefore it could also mean that it forces residents of the Kensington and East Kensington areas to shop more at the superettes or the corner stores in their area, as evident from the greater number of superettes in the area as compared to Fishtown and Olde Richmond.  There is also a much greater number of liquor stores available in the Kensington and East Kensington areas of the neighborhood, which may be because as city planning trends go there are usually more liquor stores supplied to an area that is impoverished than that is affluent.

In summary, access to food and other necessities is an important indicator of the quality of life as obtaining essentials to survival such as food is vital in order to live. The accessibility to food has disparities within the areas of the neighborhood of Kensington.  In the Fishtown and Olde Richmond areas there is a wider variety of food and other necessities as a result of the affluent population and its closer proximity to Center City.  In the Kensington and East Kensington areas of the neighborhood there are less varieties in the available food options, and the location of the supermarkets forces resident to use superettes more, which only has highly processed foods. This area has hardly benefited from gentrification in that there are no farmer’s markets or natural health and wellness stores in the area of Kensington and East Kensington.

Sources
Trade Dimensions Inc.
PolicyMap via UPenn
Yellow Pages


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