Current Research & Public Engagement in Social Issues
Central Coast School Food Alliance
Few issues are more important to parents than the health of their children, beginning with the food they eat. CASFS has been a leader in serving the Central Coast School Food Alliance, an action research project that brings together leaders and practitioners from food service, food banks and K-12 education, to collaborate on improving school food programs. The Alliance’s goal is to develop a model for the local community and other regions throughout the U.S. to provide healthy school lunches and breakfasts for all children. This is particularly important for low-income children, since often their main meals are those they eat at school. The Alliance also provides the community with public sessions on sustainable agrifood system issues and solutions; piloting social change programs based on action concepts identified through work of the Alliance; conducting community-based research; and developing leadership skills. The Alliance is developing strategies to obtain changes in state and federal legislation, increase school food funding sources, and build additional community organizing and local leadership around school nutrition and access to food. CASFS has assisted in the compilation of information from research on the impact that limited access to food and nutrition has on students’ academic success. The working group is developing a public relations strategy to engage the community through events that highlight innovative school-food program successes.
WhyHunger, a nonprofit organization based in New York City, is funding CASFS to disseminate and amplify successful community-based program models and activities that reduce health disparities by increasing the availability of and access to healthy food within low-income and rural communities. With this support, CASFS’ assists the Central Coast School Food Alliance to access information resources from WhyHunger’s Grassroots Action Network database, access information and analyses on food deserts through WhyHunger’s Food Security Learning Center, and access WhyHunger’s financial resources to address the problem of food deserts in the Central Coast Region of California.
CASFS participants: Patricia Allen, Tim Galarneau, Jan Perez
Funding: U.S. Department of Agriculture, WHYHunger
Food System Localization
CASFS participant: Patricia Allen Cooperator: Clare Hinrichs, Penn State University
Related publications –
Allen, P. 2010. Realizing justice in local food systems. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 1-14. Advance Access published online May 14, 2010.
Allen, P., and C. Hinrichs. 2007. Buying into “buy local”: agendas and assumptions of U.S. local food initiative. In L. Holloway, D. Maye and M. Kneafsy, editors. Constructing alternative food geographies?: representation and practice. Elsevier Press.
Allen, P. and A. B. Wilson. 2008. Agrifood inequalities: Globalization and localization. Development 51 (4). Special issue: The future of agriculture Hinrichs, C. and P. Allen. 2008. Selective patronage and social justice: local food consumer campaigns in historical context. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics. 21:329-352.
Brown, M. 2009. Role of social justice in "buy local" campaigns examined. The Cultivar 27 (1): 14.
Gender and the Agrifood System
Gender is a key social justice category for sustainable agrifood systems. This research explores the ways in which women’s material, cultural, and personal lives are shaped through their interactions with the contemporary agrifood system, and how they, in turn, are reshaping the agrifood system in the U.S.
CASFS participant: Patricia Allen Cooperator: Carolyn Sachs, Penn State University
Related publications –
Allen, P. 2004. Together at the table: sustainability and sustenance in the American food system. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press.
Allen, P., and C. Sachs. 2007. Women and food chains: the gendered politics of food. International Journal of Sociology of Food and Agriculture 15 (1): 1-23.
Gender and Labor in the U.S. Food System
This project is examining some of the reasons behind the statistics that show significant inequalities in the U.S. food labor sector that are patterned along lines of gender, race, and class.The research will include individual interviews and group conversations with men and women employed in the food industry, such as farmers, farm workers, and restaurant workers, to address questions of how patterns of inequality are reproduced, how social disparities are experienced, and how the social categories of class, race, and gender interact to produce inequity.
CASFS participant: Patricia Allen Cooperator: Carolyn Sachs, Penn State University Funding: National Science Foundation's Sociology Program
Related publication –
Brown, M. 2009. Labor inequalities in the U.S. food system examined. The Cultivar 27 (1): 13.
Historical Development of Federal Organic Agricultural Policy
This research examines the historical development of federal organic agricultural policy in terms of the development of the organics market and how the political frame of organic agriculture has shifted from public good to personal preference.
CASFS participant: Patricia Allen Cooperator: Martin Kovach