SALT Scholar Capstone Project Descriptions

Food Security

Addressing Food Deserts in Public Housing Communities  

An urban area is considered to be a food desert when residents do not have access to food that is healthy and affordable in addition to an overall lack of healthy food options to purchase. Working in an internship in the Preston Taylor public housing community, it was evident that this neighborhood was a food desert, and I wanted to study the residents' perceptions on this issue. I felt that understanding the extent of impact caused by the food desert in the Preston Taylor community, beyond numerical census data, including individual residents’ struggle is important in working toward a solution. A core tenet of social work is the idea that clients are the experts and social workers hold a commitment to collaborating with clients to create change and solve problems; this project allowed for collaboration and empowerment by obtaining personal suggestions from those who face this reality. The purpose of this project was two-fold. Firstly, it documented the extent of the food desert problem within the Preston Taylor community, including distances to grocery stores and the number of convenience stores and fast-food restaurants within the neighborhood. This project also sought to empower the Preston Taylor residents with the opportunity to create community change by obtaining individual input through qualitative surveys as to how they felt this issue could most effectively be addressed. Specifically, these survey questions focused on residents’ perceptions of the best approaches to addressing problems created by food deserts.

Hannah Loftus

Social Work

May 2015
Hearts 4 Hunger
Seeking to Feed the Hungry During the Leanest Time of the Year

My capstone project was completed though a special topics course in Community Organizing.  I headed up a team of fifteen of my classmates, and we worked to build a fundraising campaign from the ground up for Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee.  We reached out to churches during the weeks and months before Valentine's day, asking them to 'Have A Heart for Hunger.'  Our campaign was called 'Hearts for Hunger' and we tried to communicate to Middle Tennessee churches that their donation of only $1 could provide four meals for a family in need. 

Patrick McAnally
Law, Justice & Society
May 2011
Combating urban deserts in Nashville
Building a community garden on Lipscomb’s campus
There is a growing need to start a conversation about the food we eat, where it comes from and how it impacts the global community. Food connects us to many pressing questions about the environment, labor, health, culture, the global economy and international relations. Food is also an important local issue; residents of food desert areas in Nashville lack access to healthy foods because of location, cost and education. Our vision is to redefine the word “neighbor” among Lipscomb University students by creating a community garden space that would produce food for underserved Nashville populations and offer education opportunities for both the Lipscomb and wider Nashville community. 

Grace Biggs
Law, Justice & Society
August 2010