The objective of this study was threefold: to characterize levels of food security, food insecurity, and hunger among migrant and seasonal Latino farmworkers; to assess predictors of food insecurity for this group; and to describe the strategies farmworkers use to cope with food insecurity.
"Food insecurity is defined as lack of access at all times, due to economic barriers, to enough food for an active and healthy lifestyle. The objective of this study was threefold: to characterize levels of food security, food insecurity, and hunger among migrant and seasonal Latino farmworkers; to assess predictors of food insecurity for this group; and to describe the strategies farmworkers use to cope with food insecurity.

"Adults from 102 farmworker households in North Carolina responded to a survey that used a Spanish-language adaptation of the U.S. Household Food Security Survey Module and questions about sociodemographic characteristics and food behaviors. Twenty-five farmworkers participated in in-depth interviews in which they described their households’ food security situation and coping strategies" (Abstractor: Author).

Major Findings & Recommendations

“Forty-eight of the 102 sample households (47.1%) were classified as food insecure, including 10 (9.8%) with moderate hunger and five (4.9%) with severe hunger. Households with children had a significantly higher prevalence of food insecurity than those without children (56.4% vs. 36.2%). Households with children accessed food programs such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) that were unavailable to those without children, while those without children were more likely to access food pantries and to consume wild game or fish. Coping strategies included borrowing money, reducing food variety, and adults consuming less food to protect children from hunger. Food insecurity was more than four times as prevalent among farmworker households as among the general U.S. population” (p. 568). "Interviewees reported that many farmworker families experience food insecurity in cycles, rather than continuously. Cycles sometimes correspond to pay periods. Often food does not last from one paycheck to the next, particularly when other bills come due or when the farmworker is being paid piece work rates...Parents believed that children are more vulnerable than adults to the effects of food shortages, and they make feeding children a priority when supplies are short"" (p. 573). “The authors recommend “both short- and long-range solutions should be implemented. In the short term, access to existing emergency food supplies can alleviate hunger. While some churches and other agencies in the area operate food pantries, most are oriented to the indigenous rural community. Such food pantries should expand outreach efforts to farmworkers….” (p. 575). "