Date of Award


Degree Type



Moore School of Business

Director of Thesis

Dr. Michael Galbreth

Second Reader

Dr. Pelin Pekgun


This thesis examines the relationship between food security – defined as accessibility to an affordable, nutritious, and sustainable source of food – and socioeconomic mobility in the continental United States. This thesis is primarily focused on the effects of food insecurity on both individuals and communities, examining the chronic long-term effects of such insecurity on areas known as “food deserts,” which are often given status as areas of persistent poverty. This research further examines the effects of a sustained poor diet, brought about by food insecurity, on the individual and overarching community in a food desert and how such a diet impacts the individual’s ability to succeed both economically and personally, looking into factors such as health, childhood development, education, personal motivation, time-management, and community cohesiveness.

This thesis further examines various solutions to chronic food insecurity, both in theory and currently in implementation. As a case view of both a food desert and area of persistent poverty, this thesis looks into Allendale County, South Carolina, beginning with the background and conditions of the area. This thesis will then move into solutions implemented by the author to remedy food insecurity in Allendale County, including the foundation of the Allendale Economic Development and Food Security Council, various collaborative efforts with both state and federal government, non-profits, business councils, and students at the University of South Carolina, and investment into food security and capacity building initiatives throughout the County.

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