Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis



First Advisor

Teresa Mares

Second Advisor

Benjamin Eastman

Third Advisor

Pablo Bose


Food, Domestic Violence, Gleaning, Hunger, Local, Culturally Appropriate Food


After leaving situations of domestic violence, survivors are at high risk of poverty, food insecurity, disability, and mental illness. Part of the recovery process for domestic violence survivors involves addressing food insecurity, both for nutritional fulfillment and as a response to isolation and separation from families and communities. This research was conducted at a transitional housing program for domestic violence survivors in Massachusetts during a process of exploring how to change their food program to include more local and culturally appropriate foods. The research focuses specifically on culturally appropriate food, both among local food movement volunteers interested in donating food and the recipients of that food in a transitional living program for domestic violence survivors. Using qualitative ethnographic methods, including interviews and participant observation, this research seeks to convey how the local food movement translates across class lines, and how it meets, or fails to meet, the needs of food insecure women and children rebuilding their lives after escaping domestic violence. It also examined the conceptual category of “culturally appropriate food” and analyzes the contradictions between food as commodity and food as experience. By framing local food as “the answer” to hunger and inequality, local food discourse often silences the real needs of the very individuals it seeks to help. These women’s individual stories, experiences, and needs are highlighted to convey their complex relationships with food and how their cultural heritage around food connects with or clashes with local food movement discourse.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.