The Common Market
Julia Heslin
2017 Fellow

About the Project

The Common Market is a non-profit regional food distributor committed to connecting communities with good, fresh, and local food from sustainable farms. The organization has a specific interest in connecting local farms with anchor institutions, which includes healthcare facilities, public and private schools, and universities. With operations in both the Mid-Atlantic and Georgia regions, the Common Market is looking to expand its into other portions of the country. In order to assess the Common Market’s current operations, this spatial analysis project focused on analyzing the organization’s impact across three levels: regional economy, food security, and agricultural sustainability.

In order to evaluate these three levels of impact, Julia explored the Common Market’s operations through various visualizations (including maps and graphics), regression analyses, and a land use assessment. She investigated the relationship between the Common Market’s operations with economic and food security indicators. Her analysis showed that there are statistically significant relationships between the types of customers the Common Market is serving and certain socioeconomic variables. Notably, Common Market community organizations are more likely to serve areas with higher amounts of Hispanic and non-white populations. Julia’s land use assessment showed that the land surrounding Common Market farms is urbanizing much faster than the region as a whole. This revelation indicates that the Common Market is supporting farms that are particularly susceptible to urban sprawl.