Completed Projects

Food Prescription Program (Evara Health, Feeding Tampa Bay, CAFSHC). This 2.5-year project studied the efficacy of a food as medicine program aimed at older adults with non-communicable conditions (e.g., Type 2 Diabetes) attending a community health in Pinellas County, FL. Longitudinal qualitative and quantitative data were collected on 200+ patients to examine changes in disease management and health outcomes among those using the on-site food pantry, mobile food pantries, and home food delivery. Additionally, data on food security status, diet, stress, and social support, and patient satisfaction with the program were reported. The results are being used by inform future food as medicine programs.

Tampa Family Health Centers (TFHC) Planning Project for a Food Prescription and Urban Garden Program. With funding from the USDA, CAFSHC collaborated with TFHC to survey East Tampa residents about their willingness to utilize an on-site food pantry as well as their opinions about establishing an urban garden in an adjacent lot to the clinic. The results from this project were submitted to the USDA. TFHC has been awarded a grant from the USDA to now implement the project.

Feeding America National (FAN) Home Food Delivery Pilot Project. With funding from FAN, CAFSHC conducted a study on the efficacy of two home food delivery pilot projects (Feeding South Florida and Feeding Tampa Bay) that were started during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results from the project were used to prepare a Home Food Delivery Playbook that has been shared with the 200 food banks affiliated with FAN. 

Impact of COVID 19 on the Management of Type 2 Diabetes Among Older Individuals:  Food Insecurity, Decreased Physical Activity, and Social Isolation.  With funding from USF, CAFSHC developed an on-line diabetes self-management course for older adults with Type 2 Diabetes during COVID-19. Longitudinal data were collected to examine the efficacy of the course for diabetes management.

Food Insecurity Among Community College Students. The study was done in collaboration with Hillsborough Community College (HCC) to assess food insecurity, needs, and coping among enrolled students during COVID-19. In addition to survey data, students created exhibit at HCC to illustrate the impact of food insecurity on their lives.

Dissertation Research: Exploring the Intersections of Community Integration and Dietary Quality on Health Outcomes among Post-911 Student Veterans. With funding from Feeding Tampa, a doctoral student is examining food security status, diet, health outcomes, and community integration among post-911 student veterans. Data collection has been completed and the student is conducting analyses and drafting her dissertation.

On-Going Projects

15th Street Nutrition Education Program (NEP). This NEP is being done in collaboration with the 15th St. Farm in downtown St. Petersburg and several local schools in Pinellas County. Funded by the USDA, the purpose of the NEP is to teach agricultural science and improve the nutritional health of students, parents, and teachers living/working in lower-income communities that have food deserts. In addition to the educational activities, the program is providing both human resources and monetary support to build several school gardens where hands-on activities are taking place. NEP website.

Hillsborough Home Grown. This research concerns a County-led food system program in Hillsborough County. Hillsborough currently seeks to, in part, lead a community development initiative, where organizations will coordinate food system programs and outreach for community engagement and education. CAFHSC is conducting conduct training and performing analysis to support and evaluate the beginning stages of this Homegrown Hillsborough food systems program and related efforts.

Food Insecure Population’s Decreased Microbiome Diversity and the Effect with Increased Inflammation, leakiness in Their Gut and Decreased Cognitive Function. The Microbiomes Institute (USF Tampa), Center for the Advancement of Food Security and Healthy Communities (CAFSHC, USF Tampa), and School of Hospitality & Tourism Management (USF Sarasota) have teamed up to study the relationship between food security, the gut microbiome, and cognition. This study will assess what people eat, measure their level of food security, and take saliva and stool samples to analyze bacterial diversity.

Examining Children’s Engagement in an Urban School Garden Education Program: This thesis project's research goal is to Identify the factors that facilitate school-aged children’s engagement in garden-based nutritional programs. 

“The knowledge is there, it’s the food that isn’t”: increasing children’s produce accessibility and consumption through food literacy and school gardening. This research theorizes that the autonomy of growing their own food to navigate unequal healthy food distribution increases children’s enjoyment of and accessibility to locally grown, fresh fruits and vegetables. Through participant observation, pre and post surveys, and age-appropriate group activities, this project aims to explore the holistic benefits of school gardening programs such as self-efficacy and the emotional connections created when individuals are involved in growing their own food and hypothesize that these connections are key to increasing produce accessibility and consumption among children as well as create methods of experiential learning that complement knowledge of healthy eating.

Technical Reports, Presentations, and Publications Archive

Picture of the opening section of the Article "Urban Farming for Urban Families"

Futurum Issue 22 - Urban Farming for urban families (Pg. 58) This article was produced by Futurum Careers, a free online resource and magazine aimed at encouraging 14-19-year-olds worldwide to pursue careers in science, tech, engineering, maths, medicine (STEM) and social sciences, humanities and the arts for people and the economy (SHAPE). For more information, teaching resources, and course and career guides, see