Tompkins County Food Insecurity – Capstone Project

Assessing Food Insecurity in Tompkins County – Sustainable Farming and Food Systems Capstone – Sarah 

After researching food insecurity in Tompkins County for three months, I know so much more than I did when I started out, but I feel like I’ve still only breached the tip of the iceberg. There is so much complexity that goes into the way that people receive help in this area. Even the ways that the words “poverty” and “food insecurity” are defined are complicated.

Loaves and FishesSo here’s a summary of what I found out:

The groups of people who have the highest instance of poverty in this area are families with children under five, specifically female led households, and people of color. In the city of Ithaca, 100% of female led households with children under five live at or below the poverty line according to the Tompkins Community Health Analysis.

The biggest sources of help to impoverished individuals in Tompkins County are the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, and the programs mandated by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The former supports soup kitchens and food pantries across 6 counties and distributes over one million pound of food each year. The latter provides funding for things like school and summer lunch programs, and for WIC (the special supplemental program for Women, Infants, and Children).

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