Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Murugi Ndirangu

Second Advisor

Professor Catherine McCarroll

Third Advisor

Jessica Avasthi




Jamie Hamblin

Purpose: In 2008 the world’s urban population surpassed the rural population; furthermore, the United Nations estimates by 2025 the world’s urban population will increase by about one billion people. Given recent population shifts and the interconnectedness between food and health, this research examines the role of agriculture in addressing urban food insecurity by reviewing urban interventions with a goal of food production.

Methods: Using the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework, an adjusted theoretical framework was developed which accounted for negative implications of these interventions as well as sustainability. Ultimately, the framework generated a food security score respective of each project. Using this score, statistical tests were conducted to confirm characteristics of more effective projects.

Results: Statistical analysis indicates food security score has a strong correlation with physical, future and social capital (0.72, 0.73 and 0.80 respectively). Food security score has a moderate correlation with duration of project and a strong correlation with number of project components (0.60 and 0.83). Furthermore, mean food security score of projects which used participatory methods was statistically different than mean food security score of projects which did not use participatory methods (p=0.01).

Conclusions: Participatory methods prove an important aspect of an urban agricultural intervention. Statistical results affirm urban food insecurity should be addressed through an integrated strategy which considers long-term viability of the project. Food security score, developed for this research, can help identify valuable components of interventions; however, this system is fairly subjective with some limitations.