Rural Inequality and Nutrition: an Analysis of Three Rural Communities in the Dominican Republic
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The Sunflower Project, a small nutrition-education project in a rural area in the Dominican Republic, grew haphazardly from its establishment in summer 2013, relying on non-academic resources and guides to shape project goals and activities. Though not unusual for development initiatives of its size throughout the world, the lack of concrete, applicable information to properly direct and support the Sunflower Project limited the credibility of the work being done and discredited the individuals who managed it. The purpose of this project is to properly inform the Sunflower Project and reinforce or modify its existing goals. I interviewed thirty local women about food-ways and wealth indicators, including agricultural resources and occupations. Scatter-plots of estimated income (with and without agricultural wealth) versus reported frequency of fruit and vegetable consumption indicated no relationship, nor did wealth inequality appear to affect the overall dietary breadth of households sampled. Income did have a significant association with overall dietary breadth. Distance to market has a negative impact on fruit and vegetable consumption, but analysis was complicated by mobile grocery routes. Living off the main grocery route reduces average weekly fruit and vegetable consumption by two servings. Analysis of foods consumed by each household, as reported in interviews, indicated preference towards fruits over vegetables and proteins over dairy. Given these observations, the Sunflower Project should conduct educational activities and recommend home projects with low resource requirements and high nutritional impact potential. The Sunflower Project should also explore heat resistant varieties of broccoli, which interview participants found desirable. Effort towards increasing vegetable consumption in the communities will require solutions to the reported obstacles to consumption, most notably access, cost, and storage of fruits and vegetables. Overall, the project should maintain focus on health, nutrition, and the environment, as described in the project’s current mission statement.
SubjectDominican Republic, Inequality, Nutrition, Anthropology, Economics, Poverty, Rural, Mobile Groceries, Food Desertification, Health, Cabrera, El Pujador, Development, Sunflower Project
Barr, Susannah R (2015). Rural Inequality and Nutrition: an Analysis of Three Rural Communities in the Dominican Republic. Honors and Undergraduate Research. Available electronically from