Using the food stress index for emergency food assistance: An Australian case series analysis during the covid-19 pandemic and natural disasters

Christina Mary Pollard, Timothy John Landrigan, Jennie Margaret Gray, Lockie McDonald, Helen Creed, Sue Booth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Food insecurity increases with human and natural disasters. Two tools were developed to assist effective food relief in Western Australia: the Food Stress Index (similar to rental stress, predicts the likelihood of household food insecurity by geographic location) and a basic and nutritious Food Basket Recommendation (that quantifies the types and amounts of food to meet dietary recommen-dations for different family types). This study aims to understand and compare the processes and impact of using these tools for organisations and their clients involved in emergency food assistance and/or disaster preparedness. A multiple case-study design analysed organisation’s use of the tools to assist the response to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and the catastrophic bushfires in Australia. Qualitative interviews were conducted by telephone and Zoom (a cloud-based video conferencing service) in July–August 2020. A purposeful sample of eight interviewees representing seven cases (government, food relief and community organisations involved in emergency food assistance and/or disaster preparedness). Three themes emerged from the analysis, (1) organisations are confident users of the tools; (2) Collaborations were “Ready to Go” and (3) Food Stress Index is a “game changer”. Findings demonstrate the intrinsic value of the tools in the provision of emergency food relief under both normal circumstances and in times of increased need, i.e., COVID-19 pandemic. The study highlights the value and importance of ongoing intersectoral collaborations for food relief and food security (e.g., the Western Australian Food Relief Framework) and suggests that upscaling of the Food Stress Index and food baskets will increase the effectiveness of measures to address food insecurity in Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6960
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Disaster management
  • Emergency food assistance
  • Food insecurity
  • Food Stress Index

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