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Access Type

Open Access

Document Type


Degree Program

Regional Planning

Degree Type

Master of Regional Planning (M.R.P.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



food security, feminism, planning, grounded theory, low-income mothers


This study reintroduces the disciplines of feminism and planning with the hope that planners will incorporate aspects of feminist theory, which has historically been overlooked by traditional western planning, into practice and subsequently better serve their communities. In an effort to demonstrate how a feminist approach can be useful to planners, this qualitative study rooted in grounded theory aims to develop an accurate portrayal of the food insecurity of low-income mothers in a rural Massachusetts county. Through an analysis of 33 interviews from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-funded Rural Families Speak project, categories of hunger, participant attitudes and opinions of different types of food assistance, and breaking stereotypes emerged. From these categories, the theory of tradition and the norm shed light on the food situations of participants and illuminated the influence of social expectations and subsequent participant reactions to such. By delving deep into the interviews and gaining a more complete understanding of the experiences of participants, planners are better equipped to function as advocates. Further implications for planners are discussed.


First Advisor

Ellen J. Pader

Second Advisor

Mark Hamin