Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering

Degree Level



Industrial Engineering


Milburn, Ashlea

Committee Member/Reader

Sullivan, Kelly


Food pantries are an essential resource for impoverished and food insecure communities. Washington County, Arkansas has a food insecurity rate of 14.3% as compared to the national average of 10.9% (Feeding America, 2019). The Northwest Arkansas Food Bank has a robust pantry network in Washington County to support families and individuals who struggle with food insecurity.

We conducted a spatiotemporal analysis of food pantry accessibility in Washington County, Arkansas to evaluate the effectiveness of the food pantry network in Washington County at supporting communities with the most need. This analysis was conducted using the Two-Step Floating Catchment Area (2SFCA) method and data from the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank and the U.S. Census Bureau. Two separate analyses were considered – one consisting of a spatial accessibility model and another that included temporal in addition to spatial patterns. The temporal dimension was based on a pantry’s number of hours open per week. The models provide relative pantry accessibility scores at the census block group level of aggregation, allowing for identification of block groups with relatively lower and higher access. The results were compared to food insecurity rates of Washington County as well as food insecurity risk index scores based a variety of socioeconomic and demographic factors (Fitzpatrick, Spialek, & Cascante, 2018). This document provides suggestions for the NWA Food Bank based on the results of this thesis.

In the future, further research should be conducted to better understand human mobility patterns regarding travel to food pantries. A spatial accessibility model is dependent on assumptions regarding human transportation patterns. In the absence of data to support good assumptions, model insights are limited. Future work could also extend the models in this thesis to include a variable catchment size to represent difference in transportation patterns between rural, suburban, and urban block groups. Finally, the desirability of “when” a pantry is open could be considered in addition to the quantity of hours the pantry is open.


food pantry, Arkansas, spatiotemporal, accessibility, food security