Our Questions about Food Security

We’ll be forming teams for final projects.  Each project will explore some topics related to food security. To help start forming teams, we brainstormed topics and questions you are interested in exploring.  Read this list and decide which topic is most interesting to you:

Local Food / Sustainability

  • role of small farming in current global food economy
  • farmers market prices vs. other supermarkets (how can we make local products more accessible, esp to low-income households)
  • local food & community-building
  • effectiveness / scalability of CSA/local food (also freegans)
  • how can we address local food suppliers? what problems are they facing?
  • how far do people around the world have to travel to get food?
  • comparative look at success of community garden types (public, private, school, government-run, non-profit, etc)

Environment / Climate Change

  • how has climate change affected food security?
  • climate change & crop production in the midwest USA
  • relation between climate change & food security & what we can do to affect either / both
  • impact of projected climate change on food suppliers
  • amount of food aid needed for a community fluctuations as seasons change
  • environmenal / toxilogical food security impact from long term contamination of the food staples in populations


  • nutrition distribution (ex % fat, % protein) around the world
  • how and what are we gonna eat in 20 years? food vs. future
  • what is the total monetary and nutritional value at the cut-off value for food insecurity, and how do these values vary by state or by country
  • what are the best practices for feeding children in a safe and healthy way?
  • how can we improve nutrition in local public schools?

Economics / Indicators

  • compare / analyze food insecurity level and other health stats (obesity, heart disease, mental disorder-depression, addiction, etc)
  • food security as an indicator of other measurements / inequalitites of wellbeing (ie. economics, education)
  • relationship between economic condition and what is considered a average / balanced meal (beliefs about food / nutrition)
  • price fluctuations and impact on poor
  • relationship between economic condition and nutrition availability – what can you eat on a certain budget (by country)
  • how does food insecurity impact education / academic performance among children in the US?
  • relationship between school food programs and school performance by economic condition
  • quantifying social & economic outcomes of food security?

Outreach / Education

  • food security education around Boston area – in school (for kids), for parents
  • how can we better education people about food security?


  • investigating gov polies that exacerbate (or help address) food insecurity, what are the drivers / forces at work? who benefits from such policies?
  • comparisons of different strategies of tackling food security issue
  • how governments been keeping their promises wrt food security goals?
  • how to identify policy gaps and other factors outside of food supply levels that correlate with food insecurity?
  • do efforts directed at food security end up being counter-productive? (the source of the problem lies elsewhere?)


  • how can you confirm that food is properly utilized (ex. eaten)?
  • how can we improve food usage and limit waste?
  • how can we use data to characterize and understand the causes and scope of food waste around the world?
  • how do the locations with the highest food waste compare to those with the highest food insecurity? Is there a correlation between food waste and food security?

Food System

  • genetically engineered crops (starting w/green revolution) and food security
  • effect of GMOs on food supply / safety
  • pesticides / GMO and food security
  • animal agriculture / factory farming
  • how does availability of natural resources (water, land, etc) affect food security of a community?
  • how is agriculture being impacted (urbanization, desertification) and how does it affect food security?

Other Stuff

  • relating yelp (micro) and dining data to macro scale / views such as food security indicators published by UN
  • how to solve food deserts
  • food stamps and how that affects # of visitors to soup kitchens, etc per week (I think they’re given out @ the beginning of the month)
  • prison food security
  • how food insecurity changes the decisions you make every day
  • how do you ensure accuracy of data? (regarding nutrition, diet, etc)

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