2019 Ph.D., Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara and San Diego State University
2014 M.S., Environmental Science, University of South Florida
2011 B.S., Biology, Rhodes College
Blaire O’Neal is a postdoctoral research fellow with the National Institute of Food and Agriculture in the United States Department of Agriculture and Adjunct Professor at San Diego State University. She holds a Ph.D. in Geography from the joint doctoral program between University of California, Santa Barbara and San Diego State University and an M.S. in Environmental Science from University of South Florida, Tampa. Her areas of expertise include urban geography, political ecology and food studies. She engages with quantitative and qualitative methodologies including GIS, mapping, spatial analysis, content analysis, interviews and participant observation.
The main question that drives her research is: “How can urban food systems integrate sustainability and social justice?” She examines this question in the context of US cities where natural resources, technological innovation and human ingenuity coalesce to produce diverse, but uneven food systems. Her doctoral research examined the “alternative” urban food system in San Diego County, particularly the relationship between “traditional” soil-based community gardens and burgeoning soilless operations that use hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponic technologies. In her current position as a postdoctoral research fellow, she is performing a systems analysis of soilless urban agriculture in six U.S. cities to examine its efficiency, profitability, resource use and impacts on food security, economic development and sustainability. She pays particular attention to the role of place, including the economic, social and political context, in shaping this new industry and its key actors in each city.
She is excited to be a Visiting Researcher with the Spatial Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California and welcomes opportunities for collaboration with fellow faculty and graduate students.
Bosco, F.J., Joassart-Marcelli, P., and O’Neal, B. (2017). “Food Journeys: Place, Mobility, and the Everyday Food Practices of Young People.” Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 107(6), 1479-1498.
O’Neal, B. and Joassart-Marcelli, P. (2018). “Celebrities, Experts, and Advocates: How Chefs are Transforming the Food System.” In Pascale Joassart-Marcelli and Fernando Bosco (Eds.), Food and Place: A Critical Exploration. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. Pp. 292-307.