RCE Georgetown - 2021

Examining a Network of Food Resources to Address Food Insecurity
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Examining a Network of Food Resources to Address Food Insecurity
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Georgetown
Contributing organization(s) : 
Coastal Carolina University, Baskervill Food Pantry
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Anthony Setari
Organizational Affiliation: 
Coastal Carolina University
Michelle Dzurenda
Organizational Affiliation: 
Coastal Carolina University
Victoria DePalma
Organizational Affiliation: 
Coastal Carolina University
Pamela Martin
Organizational Affiliation: 
Coastal Carolina University
Format of project: 
Power point, executive report, data dashboard
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Geographical & Education Information
United States
Georgetown County, South Carolina
Address of focal point institution for project: 
Spadoni College of Education and Social Sciences
Coastal Carolina University
105L Prince Bldg
Conway, SC 29528
Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Georgetown County, South Carolina is a coastal community in the southeastern United States. The county includes coastal and wetland environments, and is home to rural farming communities and suburban neighborhoods. The county is estimated to have 17.5% of its population living in poverty, with a large amount of that resulting from systemic inequity and a lack of access to resources.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
The project focuses on addressing SDG 2: Zero Hunger. The county is home to an estimated 2,500 children that are food insecure (about 20.9% of the population of children). Food resources to address food security issues are available in the suburban communities of the county but food resource availability outside of these communities is not well documented.
July, 2021
Food insecurity is an issue in many communities and as a result, local communities will develop a range of food resource supports to address the need. However, uncertainty remains regarding how well these local food resource supports are able to cover the full extent of the need present in a county, particularly in less populated areas of a community. Given limited resources, current food resource supports would benefit from better understanding the coverage of food resource supports in a community and determine where additional supports may be needed, as well as identify opportunities to strengthen the current network and reach of food resources.
The purpose of this project is to determine gaps in coverage of food resource supports in Georgetown County, South Carolina and make policy recommendations regarding opportunities for expansion and means to strengthen the current network of supports. The project will seek to develop a resource that the community can actively use to better engage with food resources and aid in their continued decision making on addressing hunger in the community.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
The UN RCE Georgetown has actively engaged with the community to identify the network of food resources currently available in Georgetown County, South Carolina. This information is currently being used to develop a Tableau data dashboard that maps out the presence of resource and shows how they interconnect with one another. Survey data is also being collected from food resource participants throughout the county to better understand their experiences with accessing food resources from the community.
Size of academic audience: 
This project is ongoing but the resulting dashboard will become a public resource that is shared with the community and presented to local policymakers.
Preliminary results indicate that a range of informal food resource supports exist throughout the county, largely as a result of smaller organizations partnering with the larger community food resource supports. However, challenges persist regarding communication of the availability of these resources in local communities and with the informal nature of the network. Much of the food resource network is dependent upon community volunteers actively engaging in the process as a result of their work with a specific organization and relies on their ability to contribute to the network. There is a clear need for additional volunteers to this network but also an opportunity for the establishment of a formalized collective impact initiative that works to strengthen this network of volunteers and community organizations working to address food insecurity in the area.
Lessons learned: 
A key lesson resulting from this project is that working with smaller community organizations that are not actively staffed can require a great deal of time to reach, and as a result, relevant information may need to be obtained from partner organizations that work with these organizations. An additional lesson learned is that community organizations often will take it upon themselves to identify and address societal issues they are seeing influencing the individuals they work with, however, face challenges with staffing and resources.
Key messages: 
There is an opportunity to work with communities by mapping out the current availability of key resources, and in doing so, develop an artifact that can identify gaps in coverage of resources and provide the community with a tool that can support them in locating potentially beneficial resources.
The project is being funded by the Baskervill Food Pantry, one of the key food resource partners in the Georgetown County, South Carolina area. They provided $9,500 to support the UN RCE Georgetown in undertaking the project.
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 1 - End poverty in all its forms everywhere 
SDG 2 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture 
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
ESD for 2030-Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 1 - Advancing policy 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level