Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Melissa Swauger, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Dana Hysock Witham, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Idamarie Laquatra, Ph.D.


Every year, millions of Americans experience an inadequate supply of food in both quality and quantity. While the body of food insecurity research does well in identifying both the challenges faced and strategies employed by low-income households, understanding the context within which a challenge presupposes a strategy is important in establishing policies that can alleviate food insecurity in low-income households. This exploratory study seeks to understand the labor involved in food choices and feeding decisions in low-income households. Qualitative methods, including interviews, observations, and a participant journal, reveal the temporal, dynamic nature of keeping food supplied within the context of a rural food environment. Making things stretch and throwing together emerge as improvisations in practices employed by low-income households as they seek to feed their families. Policies that bolster knowledge about the food environment will aid low-income households in obtaining sufficient food supplies.

Included in

Sociology Commons