Food Insecurity for College Students: The geographic barriers to a college student’s success

Authors: Rebecca Lubbers*,
Topics: Food Systems, Social Geography, Agricultural Geography
Keywords: food insecurity, community colleges, food deserts, COVID 19, transportation
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/11/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 42
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The nature of food insecurity evolves as external elements change the conditions in which people live. As such, understanding the underlying causes that lead to food insecurity is necessary—but addressing the limits to combating food insecurity is imperative. From an analysis of organizations making efforts to increase food access, it was found that participants did not drive further than a 5-mile radius to obtain adequate meals. The nature and location of food deserts thus plays a role in a community's food security. In community colleges/two-year institutions, where typically 33% of students are considered food insecure, food assistance programs have been evolving to handle the impacts of COVID 19 and the increasing need for consistent aid. In the summer of 2020, Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) enacted innovative strategies to address student needs and facilitate success, and the institution continues to develop ways to address food insecurity. This presentation examines the procedures and practices that have evolved at GRCC and student responses to their barriers in obtaining aid in reference to their physical distance to the food pantry program. GRCC protocols and levels of success are compared with other institutions in the Midwest.

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