Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Food Security Project is Underway

Food Security in our Own Backyard(s)! 
Professor Mark Carper in Geography/Environmental Studies is passionate about food – and not just the act of feeding himself, as he pointed out, but both “nutritional density” and food security for the state of Alaska.  Professor Carper was funded by the Center last spring to begin a study of food security that began with a very extensive agenda and has since, with the advice of a team of UAA faculty, been trimmed back to a step-wise approach to an impressive research agenda that will be implemented over time.  This year, Carper and a team of students headed by Kyla Byers and Aleks Pfaffe have finalized a survey regarding access to food and fresh food and are currently distributing it around Anchorage. 
Students working on the project also include Zoe Meade, Danielle Giles, Kent Spiers, Brittany Murphy, Kaustav Kakati, and Rebecca Barker.  The students who are distributing the surveys  are “citi-certified” meaning they have completed the Institutional Review Board training to understand the protocols and restraints of research guidelines to protect human subjects.  The team will finish up surveys in April or May and begin the data analysis.  Data will also be gathered on food outlets that will be classified into “types” such as local markets, national chains, convenience stores, etc. and mapped using a GIS system. 
Professor Carper and his team are working with the Alaska Food Policy Council, and they will publish the final report on their website.  Carper’s other interests include further research on food security for households in the state of Alaska, community gardens, and disparities in access to fresh and nutritionally dense food as food equity for disadvantaged or rural populations in Alaska.
Mark Carper speaking at the Faculty Colloquia Series, also pictured are John Dede, Tracey Burke, Judy Owens-Manley, and Rose Ebue.

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