One of the most fundamental human needs is food. It supplies the energy and the proper nutrients required for human activity and life. Perhaps the most important questions facing all societies since the beginnings of urbanization thousands of years ago have been where food comes from and how it gets to those who want it and need it. This includes such issues as how much food humans need, where they can get it, what kind of food they can get, and how it can be acquired.
While many may feel that food security is no longer an issue in "developed" countries, current research suggests that it is still an issue in the post-industrial urban centers of the United States, including Akron, Ohio. Questions of geographic attainability, economic affordability, and nutritional sustainability may be, in part, measured by investigating certain characteristics of grocery stores - where they are, what they sell, and what they charge for certain food items.
It is the intent of this research to create a meaningful evaluation of food security by applying the Food and Agricultural Organization's (FAO) universally recognized definition to grocery stores in inner city Akron. This approach is unique since food security is usually evaluated by questionnaires and surveys of individuals, not from the perspective of citizen accessibility to stores. Most importantly, this research explores the food security realities within the impoverished areas of inner city Akron, Ohio and attempts to achieve a better understanding of how grocery stores serve their respective communities. A more developed and deeper understanding of these dynamics will hopefully lead to improvements in Akron's food system that will benefit all.
Food insecurity is a reality for many inner city Akron residents according to the established definition of food security by the FAO. The degree of food security and food access can be quantified, and there are statistically significant geographical relationships between the characteristics of food stores and persons who live in their service areas.