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The influence of community capital toward a community's capacity to respond to food insecurity


  • Jessica Crowe
  • Justin Smith


For many Americans, purchasing or acquiring food is a minor inconvenience rather than a major obstacle that must be overcome. In the United States, 17 million households (14.6%) were food insecure in 2008. Confronted with this vulnerability, some communities are attempting to re-localize many food system activities in an attempt to provide for healthier and more sustainable (socially, economically, and environmentally) food alternatives. Despite this rising movement, little research exists that examines which community-level characteristics are associated with a community's capacity to respond to food insecurity. Using data collected on 540 communities in the Northwest and Midwest, I examine the relationship between community capitals and food options available to residents of small to mid-sized communities. Findings show that communities with values and beliefs conducive for community betterment (cultural capital) coupled with acting on those beliefs through participation in civic groups and networking with outside communities and organizations (social capital) are much more likely to have a variety of sources of food than communities with low levels of cultural and social capitals.

Suggested Citation

  • Jessica Crowe & Justin Smith, 2011. "The influence of community capital toward a community's capacity to respond to food insecurity," Community Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(2), pages 169-186, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:comdev:v:43:y:2011:i:2:p:169-186
    DOI: 10.1080/15575330.2011.575230

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nord, Mark & Andrews, Margaret S. & Carlson, Steven, 2009. "Household Food Security in the United States, 2008," Economic Research Report 55953, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
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