We Learn Best from Those with Lived Experience: A Phenomenological Study of Postsecondary Student Food Insecurity



Cunningham, Vanessa

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University of Guelph


Food insecurity is a complex, multifaceted issue that has serious consequences for health and wellbeing. Concerningly, a growing body of research demonstrates that food insecurity is a reality for a substantial number of postsecondary students in Canada. My thesis explores and illuminates the phenomenon of postsecondary student food insecurity using qualitative methodologies. Specifically, I use a phenomenological framework to better understand what constitutes the lived experience of students with food insecurity. To support my research interests, I conducted 11 semi-structured interviews with students, all but one from the University of Guelph, who were recruited primarily through the campus food bank. My findings show that students’ experiences with food insecurity are diverse, yet overarchingly shaped by the intersection of the social identities they hold. My position is that student food insecurity is produced by multiple, overlapping systems of oppression that privilege certain identities and discriminate against others.



Postsecondary Student Food Insecurity, Food Insecurity, Lived Experience, Phenomenology, Intersectionality, University of Guelph