Urban forest equity: An analysis of the distribution of edible trees in Bloomington and Indianapolis, Indiana

Authors: Erin Hardman*, Indiana University, Ava Hartman, Indiana University, Samantha Hamlin, Department of Biology, IU College of Arts and Sciences, Dana Habeeb, Department of Informatics, IU Luddy School of Informatics
Topics: Urban Geography
Keywords: Urban foraging, edible, equity
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 33
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Urban foraging is not only a recreational activity, but it also provides free and nutritious food to mitigate food insecurity. Previous research has shown a consistent and significant inequitable distribution of urban forest on public land. In order to increase awareness, we are developing and public platform that identifies the locations of edible trees in Indianapolis and Bloomington, Indiana, with other characteristics, including names (common and genus), edibility rating, when in bloom, habitat, description of what the tree looks like, allergies and toxins, medicinal uses, and photos. We are then analyzing the distribution of these trees with regard to income to determine the optimal locations for planting these edible trees, which in concert with increased education about their edibility and other uses can reduce food insecurity and provide other amenities. We are examining about the distribution of urban forest in two municipalities at the census block group level, with specific attention to income and race to support planning for a more equitable future. We are also highlighting institutions engaged in tree planting efforts in these communities as focal points to stimulate conversation about increasing urban forest equity with discussion of potential strategies for Indianapolis and Bloomington to increase awareness and equity of the potential of urban foraging, and how these lessons can be translated and applied to other municipalities.

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