Freight transportation network infrastructure (or its lack) is one under-explored aspect of the food system that may contribute to low food access. The objective of this project is to explore how transportation networks could potentially mitigate food inequality by bringing affordable healthy food closer to low-income, underserved households. Our initial investigation will explore the connection between distribution routes, and warehousing terminals that serve groceries and food pantries. How do they impact regional and first and last mile challenges and what are their impacts on communities contending with low food access? Based on preliminary investigation, we expect to also discover innovative transportation network solutions that communities with low access have developed to improve access with resources at hand. Some of the key elements of interest are (but not limited to): the highway network system, major and minor corridors, food distribution centers for cold chain, food supply chain distribution relationships, consumer points of access (food pantries, groceries), and key bottleneck points.
We are investigating and comparing findings from urban New Jersey and rural Wisconsin on these freight transportation issues. In Wisconsin, we will target thirteen counties in Northern Wisconsin identified as having food insecurity greater than 12%. As many Native Nations are based in these counties our research will document issues of specific interest to their needs, challenges and opportunities. These 13 counties fall under the USDA-ERS definition of Frontier and Remote areas (FAR), where a significant number of people find it hard to access “low order” goods and services, such as grocery stores, gas stations, and basic health-care services. These areas are classified as Level Four FAR and comprised of 2.3 million Americans in 2010. Our work will address concerns of this population generally and be applicable nation-wide.
This research project began in August 5, 2021, and ends August 31, 2022. It is supported by the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service – Transportation Services Division, and the People of the State of Wisconsin.
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS)
Michelle Miller, Associate Director & Researcher
Michelle Miller is a researcher and associate director at the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, the sustainable agriculture research center on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. She is a practicing economic anthropologist engaged in participatory action research with farmers, their communities, and supply chain partners. She holds degrees in landscape architecture (emphasis: regional planning and restorative ecology), and sustainable development (emphasis: agriculture and food). Her current projects focus on agriculture of the middle and regional food economies, food freight transportation and logistics, perennial agriculture, resilience and climate change. Miller serves on the Transportation Research Board’s Standing Committee on Agriculture and Food Transportation.
Regina Hirsch, Food Systems Scientist and Participatory Action Researcher
Dr. Regina Hirsch recently returned to CIAS in the fall of 2020. Prior to her departure in 2014, she worked on the Eco-Fruit Project for almost 10 years. Currently, she is working with other CIAS colleagues on four projects: Hazelnuts, Local Food Hubs, Hard Cider and Grassland 2.0. She has extensive experience in working with Midwest farmers on a variety of projects not only at CIAS, but also as an independent consultant, post-doc positions, and PhD research. She has vast experience in program management, outreach education, meeting facilitation, grant writing and program evaluation. Regina’s experience also includes working in the private sector as the Vice President of operations for her family R&D business, environmental consultant, co-founder and treasurer of the nonprofit Sustainable Stoughton, and as an elected alderperson in Stoughton. All these experiences and opportunities allow her to understand different perspectives from various program stakeholders for current and future initiatives. She has a PhD in Wildlife Ecology with a minor in Entomology from UW-Madison and a Masters degree from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
David Long, Applied Population Lab, Department of Community and Environmental Sociology
The Applied Population Lab provides information solutions through a unique set of skills that unites applied demography, health geography, spatial analysis, information systems, planning, and community development. Their work on the Wisconsin Food Security Project led by Dr. Judi Bartfeld provides state and local information about food security and its underlying foundations in Wisconsin. The project promotes food security by empowering planners, policymakers, and local stakeholders to identify strengths, risk factors, and gaps in their communities.
New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT)
Jasmine Chang, Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Management Business Data Science, NJIT
Dr. Jasmine Chang is an Assistant Professor of Business Data Science and Supply Chain Management at the Martin Tuchman School of Management of NJIT. Her research interests include Agricultural Supply Chain, Logistics, Blockchain applications for supply chain and finance, business sustainability, text analytics and healthcare information technology. Dr. Chang holds a PhD in Supply Chain Management from Rutgers Business School, an MBA degree in Finance and Supply Chain Management and a MA degree in International Economics. Additionally, she is certified with CPIM (Certified in Production and Inventory Management) and SAP and has consulting experience with ERP Transportation and Logistics Management System development.
Jim Shi, Hurlburt Chair Professor of Supply Chain Management and Logistics, NJIT
Dr. Jim Shi is the Hurlburt Chair professor at NJIT. His research interests lie in Supply Chain Management (SCM), Transportation and Logistics, Agribusiness, Business Data Sciences (BDS), Blockchain Technology for SCM, Crowdsourcing Economics, Supply Chain Risk and Sustainability, Healthcare Operations, etc. Some of his current research is on the interface between Finance, Supply Chain Management, and Marketing. Jim Shi is a recipient of IBM Faculty Award (2019), Excellence in Teaching Award (NJIT University- and College-wide), Robert W. Van Houten Award for Teaching Excellence, Outstanding Faculty Research Award (NJIT University- and College-wide). His research appears at numerous scholarly top-tier journals such as Operations Research (OR), Manufacturing & Service Operations Management (MSOM), Production and Operations Management Society (POMS), Naval Research Logistics (NRL), Annals of Operations Research, Operations Research Letter (ORL), European Journal of Operations Research (EJOR), Omega (the International Journal of Management Science). His research has been funded by USDA, IBM, Leir Charitable Foundations, NYSHEX, etc. Dr. Jim Shi has been serving for multiple editorial roles. He is currently serving as an Associate Editor for Decision Sciences Journal (DSJ), Omega, and Data Science and Management (DSM). He also serves as a member of the Editorial Board for Production and Operations Management, and the International Journal of Business Analytics (IJBAN).
USDA-Agricultural Marketing Service-Transportation Services Division
Kuo-Liang Matt Chang, economist. GTR, Barge, Data, Coop Agreements
Kranti Mulik, economist. GTR, Truck, Cold Storage, AgRTQ