Food Security

Six County Region | Low Income Women

Six County Region | Low Income Women

I thought the best way to understand how these concepts played out in West Virginia was to talk with people who lived these experiences. My first project was built around a series of focus groups with low income women who had primary responsibility for feeding their families.

It seemed that the best way to identify women was through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). I reached out to the local WIC region that included six counties. Through this process I traveled to Charleston, West Virginia and sought guidance and permission from the State WIC director to begin this project.

For WIC clients who are already at risk for nutrition problems and live at or below
185% of poverty, problems with food access threaten the nutrition education and subsidized food packages delivered by the WIC program. Consequently, the aim of this study was to explore how low income, rural residents enrolled in the WIC program perceived the food environment and the ability to access healthy food using a healthcare access framework modified to reflect five dimensions of food access (Caspi et al., 2012).

The result of this initial effort to understand the lived experiences of low-wealth communities in West Virginia resulted in a publication that painted a picture of the complex calculations that low income women struggle to piece together in getting food daily.

Juggling the five dimensions of food access: Perceptions of rural low income residents:

Read paper here