Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Geology and Geography
Over the past four years the Food Justice Lab, now housed within the Center for Resilient Communities at West Virginia University, hosted a series of food access planning workshops across the state of West Virginia. Mobilizing more than 200 participants, the Nourishing Networks workshop training program was designed to build grassroots capacity for food system change. Eighty-percent of workshop participants were women and dialogues recorded at these events revealed how women are disproportionately impacted by food insecurity and disproportionately labor to repair a broken food system. Women in West Virginia are not only growing food, feeding their families, selling it at the grocery stores, serving it in restaurants and schools, and distributing it in food pantries, they are organizing for policy change in their own communities and working to combat systemic problems at the root of hunger and malnutrition. Absent from existing scholarship is an interrogation of the connection between community food work and the care work that goes into these labors of what I call food caregiver women. Furthermore, there is work to be done exploring the perspectives of these women through intersections of gender and race in the West Virginia context. In this research study, I explore the feeding and caregiving labors that 13 women in WV are performing through gathering their perspectives on their choice to do the work, the depoliticization and devaluation of it, as well as how their race and gender identities influence their experiences. In addition, I gather their visions of food justice and explore the capacities of their labors to create transformative food system change.
Gum, Heidi Lynn, "Resilience in the Mountains: Exploring the Labor and Motives of Food-Caregiver Women Repairing Broken Food Systems in West Virginia Communities" (2020). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 7692.