Date of Submission
Environmental and Urban Studies
Project Advisor 1
In the Hudson Valley Region in Upstate New York there is an existing conundrum in which despite all areas of the region being covered by farmland with an abundance of fresh food available in every county; there are still people going hungry and experiencing food insecurity. Low-income communities as well as low-access communities are disproportionately dealing with the inequities of the Hudson Valley food system. This project looks at past and existing frameworks towards assessing and measuring food security and discusses these approaches in relation to the methodologies being employed by local organizations to assess the prevalence of food insecurity in the region. This project finds that many barriers to food security experienced by communities include lack of sufficient income, high housing costs in conjunction with low wages, lack of transportation in conjunction with locality, access, cultural and language barriers, and race and ethnicity. This project takes a closer look at the application of Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach to food security analysis, by urging policy makers and organizations to look at food security and the food system in a more holistically and integrated way. Many local organizations focus on the availability and access dimensions of food security, while excluding the utilization component, as well as individual capabilities. As agents of one’s own life and future, individual’s make choices on how they want to live based on the lives they choose to value. Capabilities are further dependent on a person’s real freedom or opportunities to achieve the lives they value living without being constrained by systemic forces. Through this analysis we see how many issues pertaining to food security are not solely a problem of the food and agriculture sectors. The capability approach takes this into account. The approach further addresses the quality, utilization, and the social acceptability of food, while acknowledging that human well-being and development needs to be looked at from a more holistic lens as many obstacles to living healthy and fulfilling lives stem from an interconnected web of systemic issues.
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Vascimini, Nicole Grace, "Assessing Food Insecurity in the Hudson Valley Through the Capabilities Lens" (2020). Senior Projects Spring 2020. 174.
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