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Food insecurity and hunger continue to persist around the world and in the United States, disproportionately impacting female-headed households of color. Further, those working on the front lines of the food system (e.g., grocery store, restaurant, and farm workers) face gross inequities in accessing food compared to those working in any other industry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers 15 nutrition assistance programs aimed at increasing domestic food security and reducing hunger. In recent years, innovations and expansions within some of these programs have presented new opportunities for ensuring greater and more dignified access to healthy foods for all, yet more than 13% of the households continue to experience food insecurity. Food insecurity is not only an individual or household phenomenon; theoretical frameworks, such as the social-ecological model, demonstrate how social and built environments and policy contexts drive a person's dietary behaviors and, therefore, health outcomes. Measures and tools have been developed to better assess and address food insecurity at these levels, including through the USDA’s Community Food Security Assessment Toolkit and Food Environment Atlas, community food assessment models, the national SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework and Interpretive Guide, and the values-based Whole Measures framework. These policy, programmatic, and assessment advances coupled with reframing the causes and solutions for addressing food insecurity systemically present opportunities for macro social workers at community, organizational, institutional, and policy levels to help realize the goal of food as a human right.


Karene-Anne Nathaniel

Audrey Layne Jeffers (1898–1968) was an early feminist of African descent with a commitment to the advancement of Black women, education of girls, services to children with disabilities, and government responsibility for social welfare. She mobilized young women to form the Coterie of Social Workers in Trinidad that began a meal program for underprivileged school children in the 1920s, which shaped the National School Feeding Program that today offers free meals to all school students. This led to the establishment of other similar facilities in other parts of the country, as well as the opening of homes for dispossessed young women, the elderly, and the blind, and daycare facilities to help working women. These facilities form the backdrop for the practice of social work in the Caribbean. She was instrumental in the hosting of the first women’s conference which made numerous recommendations including equal opportunities for women and women in the police service. She was the first woman to be elected to local government, and later nominated to the legislative council by the governor. Jeffers was a champion for disadvantaged women and girls, but notably opened the door for women in politics in the English-speaking Caribbean.