Associate Professor, Shatakshee Dhongde, will be working on the new project “Innovating the Food Supply Chain to Address Food Insecurity in Atlanta,” that received $75,000 through Georgia Tech’s 2020 Small Bets Seed Grant program. Dhongde is a part of the team of investigators – along with PI Meisha Shofner and Co-PI Marc Zanghi – who will focus on estimating food insecurity levels in the Atlanta metro area.
The study seeks to provide insight into how to achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #1: “By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular, the poor and people in vulnerable situations including infants, to safe, nutritious, and sufficient food all year round.”
As Dhongde and her Co-PI’s describe the project: “According to a report by Feeding America 1.5 million people in Georgia are struggling with hunger - and 0.5 million of them are children. In Atlanta, the problem is accentuated by a greater concentration of poor households. We propose a novel way to address the food insecurity problem. Our project will illustrate a virtuous cycle connecting food insecurity with sustainable packaging. That food can be distributed to needy households using community partners. All packaging material can be recycled and used to produce new packaging or other products.
Food insecurity is primarily linked to poverty rates, but household level factors such as access to transportation and health problems can also play key roles. PI Dhongde (Economics) plans to use multidimensional deprivation indices in the context of food-insecure households. While understanding the reasons behind food insecurity, we will simultaneously investigate the use of a pervasive and recyclable polymer, polyethylene, for a variety of fresh food packaging applications.”