Food Insecurity in Boston

Presenter: Maggie Clark

Research Category: Engineering and Technology
College: Office of the Provost
Major(s): Undeclared
Graduation Date: 2024

There has never been a just food system in the United States. Inhibited access to healthy, abundant, affordable, and culturally appropriate food afflicts a large portion of our population in an age when we are capable of producing food in great quantities. Food insecurity disproportionately affects women, people of color, those with disabilities, and those that are financially unstable. Unfortunately, the majority of the research around this issue only considers oneÕs distance to the nearest food retailer as the cause of food insecurity, turning a blind eye to many of the other factors involved.

This project seeks to expand upon prior approaches by  identifying more nuanced and holistic measures to capture the variety and magnitude of food insecurity in Boston neighborhoods. Using a mixed-methods approach that centers community member’s expertise, it will assess food access beyond walking distance, by including the variety, dietary and cultural appropriateness, and quality of food offered Since detailed food access data in Boston is lacking, we will collect and analyze a variety of food access data. , From this, we will use industrial engineering methodologies to determine an optimal strategy for addressing the causes of food insecurity and reducing food insecurity in Boston.The final product will consist of a community built and operated tool which can be employed by members of any area of the city to assess and improve their food system.