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Community food assessments: identifying value for participants involved in short-term collaborative efforts



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This study was conducted in conjunction with the Saskatoon Regional Food Assessment with the intent of identifying structures that contribute value and promote engagement among participants. Currently, the assessment process lacks theoretical grounding, its implementation is dictated by a set of best practices. A constructivist grounded theory approach was employed in an effort to establish a theoretical basis to guide the food assessment process. Steering committee members were invited to participate in a two stage interview process examining their experience and perceptions of the process. Existing ideological deviation amongst committee members plays a significant role in perception of work in the food system. In the context of the SRFA two general ideological positions were prominent, with members harbouring either a business or community food security orientation. These ideological underpinnings played a significant role in value associated with the process and its potential role in future action. This ideological deviation also had noticeable implications on the perception of other members. While the structure employed by this assessment was not conducive to promotion of high levels of engagement amongst the membership, participants indicating higher levels of value with the assessment process and its potential to facilitate subsequent action were more inclined to advocate for increased engagement. The food assessment process is growing in popularity and working towards a strong theoretical base is an important step. Establishing a deeper understanding of how the assessment process operates will allow it to be tailored to fit the needs of any given situation. This understanding will also facilitate an understanding of aspects required to provide the greatest level of value for participants involved in such short term collaborative efforts.



community food assessment, CFA, food security, collaboration, evaluation



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Community Health and Epidemiology


Community and Population Health Science


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