My research focuses on issues of urban poverty and social exclusion, primarily in the context of southern California. I am interested in the relationships between people, food and place. In particular, my research focuses on four main aspects of these socio-spatial relationships: 

  • Critical perspectives of the food environment
  • Food and ethnicity, including the role of ethnic markets
  • Food and gentrification
  • Food activism and children's geographies
  • Urban governance and the nonprofit sector
Current Projects:
  • Food and Place: A Critical Exploration (edited volume with Fernando Bosco)
  • Community Food Security: Ethnic Markets, Urban Change and Access to Healthy, Sustainable, Affordable, and Culturally Appropriate Food in City Heights (SDSU)
  • Food, Ethnicity and Place: Feeding Families and Nourishing Communities (NSF)
  • The Right to the (Healthy) City: Public Parks, Community Formation and the Politics of Place
Future Projects:

I hope to continue working on projects investigating the relationships between food, place, inequality and social exclusion. I am working on a number of proposals related to urban agriculture and young people food activism. I welcome the opportunity to work with undergraduate and graduate students who share my research interests and am open to multiple perspectives and methodologies. 


My dissertation, entitled “Participation in Informal Labor Markets: Evidence from Latina Immigrants in Los Angeles”, examined the role of place in shaping employment in informal work. I argued that gender and ethnic differences in work experiences are (re)produced spatially within segmented local labor markets and social networks. My research showed that social networks can be both enabling and constraining, often reproducing inequalities along the lines of gender, race and class. My current work is influenced by the same desire to understand place-based social and cultural practices and economic activities as embedded into broader social relations related to race/ethnicity, class, and gender.