Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Mokhtar Bouba


As the issue of hunger continues to plague the lives of nearly 1 billion people around the world, we need to find real, lasting and empowering solutions. This is an interdisciplinary research study into the donation-based approach to solving critical social issues in the United States by examining the food waste recovery and hunger debate. Social, public and private sectors advocate that hunger can be solved through food waste recovery and redistribution methods. From a systems perspective, such thinking is not only problematic for the people facing hunger, but raises concern of achieving overall social justice and change. Using qualitative methods, including interviews, a survey, focus groups, and literature review, this study attempted to understand the systematic nature of food waste, hunger, and the role of the donation system in the United States. Participants were primarily representative of the San Francisco Bay Area, with a small representation from the Eastern United States. An interdisciplinary approach, along with triangulation of primary data, was used to develop a greater understanding into the intricate nature of the issues. This study will show how the rise of capitalism has attributed to the need for food assistance programs in the United States, how donations and aid are treating the symptoms of hunger, and how in many cases the people working to address social issues are benefiting from their very existence; and are therefore less motivated to find long term solutions.


Agriculture | Arts and Humanities | Economics | Environmental Studies | Food Studies | Politics and Social Change | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


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