New PVAMU Center to Tackle Worldwide Issue: Food Insecurity

  • Dr. Deland Myers

In the United States, about 13 percent, or one in seven people, are food insecure. In other words, they are unable to access a sufficient amount of affordable and nutritious food. In Texas, that number is higher, and experts say it will get worse as the world’s population continues to grow if steps are not taken to prevent the issue. “To combat the problem, food production and the amount of available water both have to increase. This will be a very difficult task to accomplish due to climate change, land competition, and poor land management, among other factors. Prairie View A&M University is planning to address these and other issues related to food security by establishing the Integrated Food Security Research Center (IFSRC) at PVAMU, the first of its kind in the State of Texas,” said Dr. Deland Myers, endowed professor of Food Systems in PVAMU’s College of Agriculture and Human Sciences (CAHS) who will serve as principal investigator.

The center will give faculty, staff, and scientists, in collaboration with local, regional, national, and international partners, a platform on the PVAMU campus to collaborate and foster efforts to address issues related to food insecurity. It will also provide information and resources for the undergraduate and graduate education of future professionals who will be the future leaders in the prevention of food insecurity. “Since its establishment in 1876, Prairie View A&M University has always been an institution focused on the needs of the low-resource farmers and underserved persons in the State of Texas; many of whom are disproportionally affected by food insecurity,” said Myers. “Data from the USDA Economic Research Service in 2016 showed the food insecurity level for African-American households was at 22.5 percent and Hispanic households stood at 18.5 percent, which was much higher than the general population’s percentage of 12.3 percent. Given the mission of this university, PVAMU and the CAHS have the historical and mission-obligated duty to address issues related to food insecurity as many of our stakeholders are directly affected by this condition.”

The Texas A&M System Chancellors Research Initiative (CRI) recently approved $5.3 million for PVAMU to begin the focused research effort. Myers is currently working with the Office of Sponsored Programs, Office of Business Affairs, College of Agriculture and Human Sciences, and other administrative offices at PVAMU to identify space for offices, laboratories and other operational needs for the Integrated Food Security Research Center. For more information about the IFSRC project, contact Myers at djmyers@pvamu.edu.

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-This story by Marchita Shilo originally appeared in Academic Insights.