Across Canada, hundreds of communities are working together to discover grassroots solutions to improve ‘food security’. The goal of promoting food security has given rise to hundreds of “Community Food Actions” (CFAs). CFAs are diverse and innovative, including for example food cooperatives, community gardens and kitchens, and policies related to poverty reduction and/or support for local food economies. CFAs sometimes reflect divergent perspectives on the root cause of the problem, but most reflect a commitment to working collaboratively with communities to find solutions that will make a difference. This guide is about just that – equipping people with practical tools and resources to evaluate just what kind of difference their CFA is making. This is a how-to guide about evaluation CFAs.
WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THIS GUIDE?
The purpose of this Guide is to provide people involved in CFAs with practical tools, resources, and strategies to evaluate outcomes. More specifically, this Guide is focused on CFAs that are aiming to reduce barriers to food access (either through policy and systems change work and/or through addressing the needs of individuals). As such, it will have relevance to those who want to evaluate the extent to which their CFA is increasing the affordability, availability, access to, and consumption of nutritious food in their communities. This is not a general evaluation primer. We are assuming that the user has a basic familiarity with the rationale and methods of evaluation.
This Guide was funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada as part of the Food Security Knowledge Initiative. The Guide was produced through a collaboration led by the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Chronic Disease Interventions Division.