Date of Award

Fall 12-1-2015

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Geography and Geology

Committee Chair

Jerry O. Bass

Committee Chair Department

Geography and Geology

Committee Member 2

David M. Cochran

Committee Member 2 Department

Geography and Geology

Committee Member 3

Grant L. Harley

Committee Member 3 Department

Geography and Geology


The overall goal of this project is to investigate Mississippi’s rural food environment by assessing the food resources available to rural Mississippians. The primary objectives were to identify sample locations in each of the four cultural regions of Mississippi and determine the food resources available to residents of those counties. The intellectual merit of this research lies in its in-depth exploration of food accessibility in rural areas. Though there is a wealth of literature on the topics of urban food access and food deserts, very little research has been done in rural areas. Most studies focus on urban environments which are ultimately plagued with severely different access restrictions in terms of fresh, healthy foods. Additionally, the level of detail afforded by this study allows for common models of food access such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Research Atlas to be evaluated for accuracy. A fundamental piece of this research is the proposition of a method of research that can be performed at any point in time with limited resources, and is not predicated on proprietary datasets or data that may be routinely compiled for all regions and states. This will make it possible for the method to be repeated in other rural regions of the United States and for intra-study comparisons to be made; a component currently missing in contemporary research.