Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Ecology

Major Professor

Betsy Haughton

Committee Members

Paula Zemel, Ian Rockett, Jay Whalen


The impact of a local food system policy, implemented by a food policy council from 1982 to 1992, on access to food in Knoxville, Tennessee was evaluated in this research study. Both a quantitative and qualitative analysis were completed. The objectives of this study were to: 1) determine whether a local food system policy made an impact on access to food by changing participation trends in three national food assistance programs at the local level; 2) describe this impact; and 3) describe the Council's processes and activities as a means of better understanding how the Council operated and the results of any impact shown on access to food. The quantitative evaluation strategy used time-series analysis to study the changes in participation rates in the Food Stamp Program, Summer Feeding Program for Children, and the Senior Nutrition Program for 20 years in three jurisdictions, Knoxville, Tennessee and the United States. To complement this analysis a qualitative evaluation used content analysis of the monthly meeting minutes of the Food Policy Council. The results showed that the food system policy, implemented through the Food Policy Council, did not have an impact on access to food in these food assistance programs when participation rates were analyzed. However, when simple participation was analyzed impacts were seen in the Senior Nutrition Program and Summer Feeding Program for Children, both discretionary funded programs. This is of value to food policy council's and groups interested in promoting food security, because it may help to target community efforts.

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