Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Systems (MSNFS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Nutrition and Food Science

First Advisor

Dr. Dawn Brewer


About 1 in 8 Kentuckians experiencing food insecurity. Low-income Appalachian Kentuckians often utilize food assistance programs and community resources to obtain food and they have lack regular access to fresh food, especially fruits and vegetables. Of concern is nutrition quality and the ability to use food items. The study aimed to explore if and how low-income Appalachian Kentuckians living in a food desert utilized their standard food pantry box as well as a supplemental box of free fresh produce. The study was done through distribution of supplemental fruit and vegetable boxes along with their emergency food box seven different times with survey collected. The study findings show that for each of the food boxes at least 97.1% reported knowing how to prepare the provided fresh produce and that the majority of the provided fresh produce items were consumed or preserved. Participants would prefer to receive a combination of fresh, frozen and canned vegetables to prepare meals. Study outcomes suggest that distribution of food through local food programs need to be mindful of equipment needs of clients, especially with fresh produce. However, providing low-income Appalachian Kentucky communities living in food deserts with fresh produce may effectively increase fruit and vegetable consumption.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

This study was supported by the University of Kentucky Superfund Research Center in 2020, 2021 and 2022.