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Assessing food security and local food systems for healthy, livable and sustainable communities in north alabama

Author: 
Berneece Herbert, Lady Kassama and Colmore S. Christian
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

Food security, a condition in which “… all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life” (FAO, 2006), is one of several conditions essential to a healthy and well-nourished population (Coleman-Jensen, 2013). This research focused on food access and sources of food, along with the roles of local food systems in North Alabama, one of the fastest growing regions in Alabama. The overall goal was to develop a geographic picture of the Huntsville Metro region and the cities at risk for food insecurity. By noting places with high food insecurity risk and comparing them to places where food is available, analysis indicates areas of unmet need. The methodology was adapted from a study by Wauchope and Ward (2012) of the Carsey Institute using census tracts as a proxy for neighborhoods. Results indicate that inthe Huntsville Metro region, one of the wealthiest regions in the State of Alabama, 55 percent of the population had a high risk of food insecurity with 45 census tracts identified as high risk and 71 percent with poverty rates greater than 10 percent. However, seven census tracts located in the City of Huntsville were observed to be hot spots for having significantly high percentages of its population that were located beyond 1 mile for urban areas from a supermarket.

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