Two professors from San Diego State University claim in a new book that farmers’ markets in urban areas are weed-like “white spaces” responsible for oppression.

Professors Pascale Joassart-Marcelli and Fernando J. Bosco of San Diego State University claim that the phenomenon of farmers’ markets in urban areas are but weed-like “white spaces” that promote oppression by white people. Their work, which was published by Routledge in an anthology this month “Just Green Enough,” asserts that there is a correlation between the “whiteness of farmers’ markets” and gentrification. Joassart-Marcelli teaches courses on the geography of food.

“Farmers’ markets are often white spaces where the food consumption habits of white people are normalized,” wrote the two geology professors. They said that 44 percent of the farmers’ markets in San Diego’s serve “households from higher socio-economic backgrounds.” This means, they wrote, that the markets raise property values and “[displaces] low-income residents and people of color.”

“The most insidious part of this gentrification process is that alternative food initiatives work against the community activists and residents who first mobilized to fight environmental injustices and provide these amenities but have significantly less political and economic clout than developers and real estate professionals,” wrote Joassart-Marcelli and Bosco. The negative externalities of “white habitus,” they wrote, at the farmers’ markets can reformed through “inclusive steps that balance new initiatives and neighborhood stability to make cities ‘just green enough.’”

"When Whites Flock Together: The Social Psychology of White Habitus" by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Carla Goar, David G. Embrick, published in 2006, defined white habitus: 

“Residential and social hypersegregation of whites from blacks furthers a socialization process we refer to as ‘white habitus.’” ‘White habitus’ geographically and psychologically limits whites' chances of developing meaningful relationships with blacks and other minorities.”

Prof. Joassart-Marcelli was among 80 faculty members of SDSU who wrote an open letter to campus president Elliott Hirshman in 2016 condemning the Horowitz Center for publishing the names of several students who belonged to Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the Muslim Student Association (MSA). The Horowitz Center, which is led by author and journalist David Horowitz, claimed the the students had “allied themselves with Palestinian terrorists to perpetrate BDS and Jew Hatred on this campus.” The signatories of the open letter contended that these were "false and defamatory allegations."

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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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