Emillie Anna Boyd, Josie K. Forsthoff, Abby Danae Hentz, Sebastián Edniel Serrano Préstamo
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This collaborative study asks about the intersection of religious belief and food insecurity. The purpose was to explore the connections between food practices, religious belief, religious identity, food insecurity, and food justice. A literature review of relevant scholarly articles in sociology, psychology, anthropology, and interdisciplinary social sciences revealed that religious identity can be expressed and affirmed by food practices. Food justice advocates and volunteers often attribute their service with their religious beliefs, and providing adequate food can be an opportunity for religious or spiritual dialogue. Religious minorities in the United States, like Islam, especially rely on access to specific food for religious dietary rules that express their faith in a sometimes harsh environment. This harsh environment makes food practices more psychologically and religiously significant but also more difficult to follow when access to the specific foods is considered niche. In secular and religious organizations alike we found that religious beliefs motivated workers in food justice and food banks who worked in service of their community. Another study showed evidence that being more religious did not necessarily make a society more likely to share, but the presence of need and food supply stress predicted increased sharing of labor and food. While the service is attributed to religious belief, the need is the main catalyst. Lastly, religious dialogue has been seen to thrive in areas of community service, and food banks and justice movements are not an exception. All of these points and sources suggest that food insecurity is much more closely related to religious belief and identity than expected.
Laura M. Leming
Primary Advisor's Department
Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work
Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences
"Religion and Food Justice" (2021). Stander Symposium Projects. 2267.