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Date Permissions Signed
Date of Award
Department or Program Affiliation
Master of Arts (MA)
Darby, Kate J.
Salazar, Debra J.
Berardi, Gigi M.
Spira, Tamara Lea
This qualitative research focused on how women living in a neighborhood identified as a “food desert” experience food insecurity, and to learn what coping strategies are used in response. The closure of the full-size Albertsons grocery store centrally located in the Birchwood neighborhood on Northwest Avenue led to the identification of the area as a food desert by the USDA in 2016. Food deserts, neighborhoods with limited options for buying fresh food, are created through socio-economic and spatial inequalities that impact food access. In food deserts, fresh food access may be severely limited, which leads communities to organize in order to create solutions to address food access and inequality. Analyzing food access through the transformative paradigm, a social justice lens for conducting research, allowed for a closer look at how gender is tied to food insecurity, as women are one marginalized group at a higher risk of experiencing food insecurity. This study was completed through semistructured interviews with 12 self-identified women from Birchwood. Interviews were transcribed and inductively analyzed for common themes. The results of this study showed that many residents face physical and financial barriers to food in the neighborhood and use a variety of coping strategies leading to negative physical and mental health impacts when food accessibility is low. Participants also discussed solutions to increase food security, including more stores, increased public transportation and attention to the citywide affordable housing crisis.
food deserts, food insecurity, food justice, transformative paradigm, gender
Western Washington University
Subject – LCSH
Food security--Economic aspects--Washington (State)--Bellingham; Food supply--Economic aspects--Washington (State)--Bellingham; Women--Washington (State)--Bellingham--Economic conditions; Poor women--Washington (State)--Bellingham; Grocery trade--Social aspects--Washington (State)--Bellingham; Local transit accessibility--Washington (State)--Bellingham
Copying of this thesis in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission.
Holt, Renee, "Barriers and Coping Strategies Among Women in a Food Desert" (2019). WWU Graduate School Collection. 871.