Jeremy Bennett, CPN member and Oklahoma State University graduate, recently completed research to determine the food security among Native Americans in Pottawatomie County. The research included information on how education, employment, and income levels affect food security in households and Bennett hopes that it will influence legislation aimed at Native Americans.

“Not only was this a research project, but it has an educational component for others,” said Bennett. “I was able to educate the families I spoke with about resources available to them and I hope that this research will influence people who create legislation.”

Bennett’s research found that education and employment are directly correlated to food security. Households where someone had obtained a high school diploma were more food secure than those in households where no one had obtained a high school diploma.

“I learned that having an education was the most crucial factor for being food secure,” Bennett added. “Even when considering unemployment and income levels, households with a high school diploma were most food secure.”

Bennett conducted a survey of 200 households in Pottawatomie County. His research offers a snapshot of Native Americans food security and offers recommendations for areas of more research and policy recommendations.

Bennett also found that CPN tribal elders ranked among the top when it comes to food security.

“The tribe is doing something very well to take care of the elderly,” added Bennett. “Food, housing and transportation programs are helping them stay food secure.”

Food security has to do with the quantity of food available. Bennett earned his Bachelors of Science degree in Environmental Science in 2011 and his Masters of Science in Agricultural Economics in 2013 from Oklahoma State University. He is a member of the Bostick family and is now working for the tribe in the Environmental Department.

Photo cutline: Jeremy Bennett and Vice-President, Dean, and Director of the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University, Dr. Mike Woods