Abstract: (WITHDRAWN) Understanding Food Security through Digital Storytelling Among Low-Income Youth and Youth of Color (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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52P (WITHDRAWN) Understanding Food Security through Digital Storytelling Among Low-Income Youth and Youth of Color

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Taurmini Fentress, MSW, MPA, Doctoral Student, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Michael Spencer, PhD, Professor, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Background and Purpose: The adverse physical, social, and psychological impacts of food insecurity are well documented, particularly in households containing children. Food insecurity is not equitable in its impact and occurrence; there is a persistent gap in the prevalence of food insecurity by race with white families being impacted far less frequently than are families of color. While food insecurity among children has declined overall since 2011, rates of food insecurity among children in households headed by Black, non-Hispanic adults were almost twice the national rate in 2018. Thus, it is clear that low-income households with children and communities of color are disproportionately affected by food insecurity. These disparities in food insecurity are represented in our local data from Seattle. Current research shows healthy food priority areas (areas of high food insecurity) being clustered in South Seattle and South King County. Not coincidentally, the southend of the city is where most low-income communities of color are concentrated due to historical segregation within the city and later gentrification that pushed communities of color further south. This study partners with FEEST, an organization led by youth in South Seattle and South King County that is focused on addressing the need for more healthy, affordable, and culturally relevant food for school-aged youth to more fully understand what role they are playing in terms of healthy food access, potential gaps, and new interventions.

Methods:Participants are youth, primarily youth of color, who have taken part in at least one FEEST activity during the last academic year. This study uses Youth-based, Participatory Research (YPAR) methods and strategies as well as digital storytelling and survey methods. Both surveys and digital stories were collected during workshops and later through connecting the youth to technology, due to the challenges of conducting research during Covid-19. Measures used include the Child and Youth Resilience Measure (CYRM-R), the Youth Social Responsibility Scale (YSRS), the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS). Qualitative data was analyzed using a constant comparative process consistent with grounded theory methodology. Models were tested with multivariate linear and non-linear regression and path analysis.

Results: Main domains that emerged through story telling were: access to healthy foods; resilience; cultural identity; youth empowerment; and relevance of FEEST services to promoting health and wellbeing. The research process itself proved to have impacts on youth, leading to self-reports of greater engagement with the issue of food insecurity in their families and communities.

Conclusions and Implications: Our results show that food insecurity relates to multiple domains in the life of youth of color in south Seattle, including cultural identity and youth empowerment. The results of our study suggest that the work of FEEST is seen by youth as essential in addressing food insecurity, not just because of food provided, but because of the impact it has on other domains, highlighting the importance of incorporating youth in the research that impacts them and their communities. YPAR itself helps to address food inequity by strengthening youth agency, while empowering youth to push for system-level change.