Engineering Food: Infrastructure Exclusion and ‘Last Mile’ Delivery in Brazilian Favelas

This project investigates how people engineer access to food.
Project status

Favelas are vibrant economic spaces, where ‘mom and pop’ shops (nano-stores) commonly offer a variety of products. But favelas are also putative ‘food deserts’ with limited availability of affordable fresh food produce. Such shortage contributes to micronutrient deficiency, an issue directly linked with public health and well-being. This limitation is related to infrastructural exclusion, i.e. ineffective and unsustainable infrastructures that prevent supply chains from closing the ‘last mile’. Access to fresh food, therefore, relies on ‘people as infrastructure’, usually meaning purchase of small quantities at high unit prices in frequent journeys. This project combines logistics management and ethnographic methods to map the formal and informal infrastructures underpinning favela residents’ access to fresh food in Brazil. It focuses on disjunctures of infrastructures, revealing everyday solutions people engineer to access food. 

Research Team: Professor Gareth Jones, London School of Economics and Political Science; Dr Andre Duarte, Insper Institute of Education and Research; Dr Mara Nogueira, London School of Economics and Political Science; Dr Vinícius Rodrigues, Insper Institute of Education and Research


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