Food insecurity and foraging food from gardening, hunting, and fishing among supplemental nutrition assistance program and eligible supplemental nutrition assistance program families
Households participating in, or eligible for, USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) deploy many food acquisition strategies to enhance their food security because the SNAP program is intended to supplement rather than provide all a household's food needs. My research is aimed at 1) better understanding how SNAP participation, income levels and other household characteristics affect the likelihood that a household will use food acquisition strategies such as gardening, hunting or fishing, and shopping at dollar and club stores, and 2) if strategies such as gardening, fishing, and hunting are associated with greater household food security. The sustainable livelihood approach provides a framework to study everyday activities of individuals and households while examining the broader forces that affect their choices, especially how livelihoods are maintained in everyday life in a defined setting and environment. Using the USDA Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey data (FoodAPS), I examined the association between the choices of survey households and the broader structural context within which the actors are embedded. There is no statistically significant difference between SNAP and other low-income non-SNAP households in terms of the food acquisition strategies examined. Higher income households are more likely to get food from gardening, fishing and hunting and are more likely to shop at club stores than are SNAP households. SNAP households and other low income households are more likely to shop at dollar stores than are higher-income households. However, gardening, hunting and fishing are more common among households in rural areas, in the Midwest and with primary respondents who are white and married. Non-SNAP households with income levels above the poverty level are more likely to receive fruits and vegetables from others' gardens than are SNAP households. Households that receive fruits and vegetables from others' gardens may maintain good social lives, which in turn may increase the chance of reciprocity. An area for further research might be understanding why gardening, hunting, and fishing do not appear to be widely used by low-income households. That understanding may be critical for the success of efforts to enhance food security of low-income households
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