UNC poverty center awards grants to two faculty members

May 20, 2008 — The UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity, based in the School of Law, has awarded seed funding for projects proposed by UNC faculty members Maureen Berner of the School of Government, and Alice Ammerman, director of Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.

UNC poverty center awards grants to two faculty members click to enlarge Alice Ammerman, Dr.P.H., R.D.

Berner, associate professor of public administration and government, received $10,478 to launch the N.C. Hunger Pilot Project. The project seeks to create an accurate portrait of hunger in North Carolina by documenting and evaluating the prevalence of hunger and food insecurity. Food insecurity defines one type of hunger affecting a household in which family members are uncertain of having enough food because of insufficient money or other resources. In 2005, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that North Carolina ranked higher than the national average for rates of both food insecurity (13.8 percent) and prevalence of hunger (4.9 percent) among the state’s population. Those rates had increased significantly from previous reports.

Ammerman, who also holds faculty appointments at the UNC Schools of Medicine and Public Health, received $10,000 to gather data related to local sustainable agriculture and food systems, especially as related to the loss of black-owned farms in North Carolina. A graduate student will conduct a policy analysis specific to the loss of black-owned farmland the resulting economic impact. The student will work with a larger interdisciplinary team, which is gathering health, environmental and economic data, to consider the economic viability of black- and Hispanic-owned farms producing sustainably grown foods for local consumers.

The seed funding grants are part of the poverty center’s goal to encourage faculty to address, through innovative and applied research, the persistent challenges facing those living at or below the poverty line. In addition to providing seed funding of up to $20,000 for research projects grounded in finding solutions to the ongoing struggles of the poor and near-poor, the center will also help grant recipients find additional funding to expand promising projects beyond the initial six-month pilot phase.

Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity contact: Heather Hunt, (919) 843-9032, hhunt@email.unc.edu
School of Government contact: Ellen Bradley, (919) 843-6527, bradley@sog.unc.edu
News Services contact: Susan Houston, (919) 962-8415, susan_houston@unc.edu