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Experiences of Food Insecurity in the United States during the Pandemic: Results of a Qualitative Study

A BSA Food Studies Group International Seminar Series

11 March 2021 (4:00–5:00pm GMT)

About the Event

The BSA Food Studies Group are delighted to announce the next in their BSA Food Studies Group International Seminar Series which started in January 2021.  Each seminar will take place on the second Thursday of every month from 4:00–5:00pm GMT.

Experiences of Food Insecurity in the United States during the Pandemic: Results of a Qualitative Study
Sarah Bowen
Food insecurity rates in the United States (and in many countries) have skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, doubling overall and tripling among households with children. Rates are especially high for Black and Latinx households, and rates also vary widely across place. As states respond differently to the pandemic, these spatial patterns will continue to shift. Surveys and reports suggest that many people are experiencing food insecurity for the first time, but we know little about the pathways that contribute to food insecurity or how variations in policy responses to COVID-19 and social context shape families’ access to food and their ability to prevent or cope with food insecurity. To answer these questions, between September 2020 and March 2021, a team of researchers conducted semi-structured interviews and collected photovoice data with a diverse group of poor and working-class families in rural and urban counties across five U.S. states. In this presentation, Sarah Bowen (the PI of the study) will present preliminary findings, documenting how the pandemic has affected how families cook and eat in the United States, the ways existing policies fall short, and the creative strategies families have adopted.


Sarah Bowen is Professor of Sociology at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. She teaches classes and conducts research related to health, food, and inequality. She is the author of two books: Divided Spirits: Tequila, Mezcal, and the Politics of Production (University of California Press, October 2015). and Pressure Cooker: Why Home Cooking Won't Solve Our Problems and What We Can Do About It (Oxford University Press, 2019). Most recently, she is Principal Investigator of the FIRST project, funded by the National Science Foundation, which aims to understand the impacts of the pandemic on people's experiences of food insecurity and coping strategies in 5 states in the United States.


This event is free of charge but registration is required.  A zoom link will be circulated prior to the event.