Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Geography, Environment and Planning

Major Professor

Fenda Akiwumi, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kamal Alsharif, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Philip Van Beynen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Joni Firat, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Evangeline Linkous, Ph.D.


Engagement, Evaluation, Intervention Strategies, Resource Pooling


Food insecurity is experienced most acutely and addressed most innovatively at the community level to which the concept of community food security (CFS) finds purchase (Hamm and Bellows, 2003). In recognition of the many varying dynamics embedded in the CFS concept, Food Policy Coalitions have become an organizational model adapted by communities across the United States. While FPCs have grown in number considerably over the last decade, there remains a considerable lack of empirical research documenting evaluation and engagement methods, as well as strategies used to address community food security. This research, framed by the Community Coalition Action Theory, draws from a nation-wide survey, and key informant interviews to gain a better understanding of the perceived effectiveness of FPCs addressing CFS in the US. This research found that policy advocacy was identified as the most effective strategy being operationalized by FPCs. An additional strategy that was included in FPC responses was networking and/or collaboration/pooling resources. Furthermore, hosting events and/or meetings was identified as the most used strategy for engaging with the community. Overall, research findings confirm the reality that FPCs, due to the complex and multi-level nature of their focus, have a difficult time quantifying tangible success in the community. However, because of the methods employed to gather this evaluative data, it can be concluded that FPCs are indeed aware of the significance of measuring success. The variety of examples given demonstrates that FPCs perceive their work as a needed and essential component to strengthening community food security.