PITTSBURGH—The David Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership at the University of Pittsburgh has developed a new scorecard—the Food Abundance Index (FAI)—to measure food security within a neighborhood or geographic area. The index was created to determine the access to and availability of healthy, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food and to eliminate food deserts—areas where healthy, affordable food is difficult to obtain.
“While awareness of the growing number of communities that are impacted by low-food security has increased, existing tools to detect the presence of food deserts and measure the levels of food security have numerous limitations,” said Audrey Murrell, coauthor of the FAI report, director of the Berg Center, associate professor of business administration, and professor of psychology at Pitt. “The FAI attempts to combine the strengths of existing measures of food access and availability and examine food security based on five criteria: access, diversity, quality, density, and affordability.”
The technical report that outlines the creation, use, and impact of the FAI as well as the potential contributions it can make and benefits that can accrue through its deployment is available through the Berg Center. In addition, the center offers a user’s toolkit and training workshops in an effort to eliminate food deserts. The report provides an overview of the FAI scorecard to help individuals, communities, and regions lay the foundation for improving food security and raising communities’ economic status, health, and overall wellbeing.
At an event last week, the Berg Center recognized the following three Pittsburgh-area organizations for their work to improve food distribution and access within their respective communities: Hill House Economic Development Corporation (Hill District), Kingsley Association (East Liberty), and Blackberry Meadows Farms (Braddock).