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Street Food Vending as a Public Health Intervention

Authors: Charlotte Glennie*, University of California - Davis, Catherine Brinkley, University of California - Davis, Gwyneth Manser*, UC Davis Geography Graduate Group
Topics: Food Systems, Urban and Regional Planning, Geography and Urban Health
Keywords: Food justice, public health, urban policy, street food
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The research aims to inform broader policies about healthy food access by focusing on the overlooked potential of street food vending. To reveal the spatiality and contents of street food vending regulations across Californian cities and counties, we review municipal code for all 58 counties and 213 cities in California. Recent legislation (SB 946, 2018) mandates that ordinances cannot regulate street food vendors for reasons beyond public health concerns. We find that the majority of California cities and counties are out of compliance and will need to update regulations. The majority of California cities (85% of those reviewed) and counties (75%) include street food vending regulations that go beyond public health rationale and include labor laws and restrictions on time and hours of operation. This research highlights the need for policy change, and notes that broader legalization of street food vending offers a unique opportunity to reassess the associated health benefits reviewed in prior literature.

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