Food Access Coalition for Kittitas County

Community Food Assessment

A community food assessment is a collaborative and participatory process which systematically examines a broad range of community food issues using an assets-based approach. The results of a community food assessment inform change to make a community more food secure. Assessment has been a key area of interested to the Food Access Coalition since its inception in 2007, and became a priority area in 2009.

Why are we doing a community food assessment?

The purpose of the Kittitas County Community Food Assessment (KCCFA) is to compile information and tell the story about the assets, resources, and needs of the county related to access to healthy foods, hunger, food security/insecurity, and our local food system.

What will we do with the results?

Through the KCCFA process and results, we hope to:

  • Increase awareness about community food issues among policy makers and the community as a whole,
  • Increase participation in community food efforts, and
  • Inform the direction of future community food efforts.

Assessment questions

  1. Where does our community access the food we need?
  2. Who doesn't have access to healthy food and/or is food insecure and why?
  3. Where are healthy foods available and are they affordable?
  4. What policies affect access to healthy foods, hunger, food security/insecurity, and/or our local food system?
  5. What are our food resources and assets and how are they distributed within the county?

The strategies we've chosen to collect information about access to healthy foods, hunger, food security/insecurity, and our local food system include:

  • Conducting a community food survey to find out how our community accesses food
  • Conducting a market basket survey to compare cost and availability of staple foods in the different areas of the county
  • Working with local youth on a photo novella or photo voice project to identify sources of food
  • Compiling secondary data about access to healthy foods, hunger, food security/insecurity, and our local food system
  • Identifying current policies affecting access to healthy foods, hunger, food security/insecurity, and our local food system
  • Mapping all food resources in the county to identify our assets as well as areas of need
  • Creating a food resource guide to identify potential gaps in resources as well as educate the community about local resources

Who is doing it?

Members of the Food Access Coalition for Kittitas County with support from the Kittitas County Public Health Department are conducting the KCCFA. The KCCFA Steering Committee includes coalition members representing both upper and lower Kittitas County communities as well as organizations such as the health department, WSU Extension, St. Andrew's Community Garden, Central Washington University Public Health and Nutrition Science Programs, Kittitas County Head Start, and FISH Food Bank.

Community Food Assessment progress

Currently, the Community Food Assessment Steering committee is working towards developing a market basket survey to compare food costs between different locations in Kittitas County and working with local youth to document through photo voice where they get their food.
February 2010-December 2010
A steering committee for the community food assessment was formed and the committee developed, distributed, collected, and analyzed 844 community food surveys from Kittitas County residents.
Community Food Survey results
Highlights from the Community Food Survey
January 2010
A Community Food Assessment workshop was held to determine the scope and purpose of the local assessment.
October 2009
The Food Access Coalition, with support from Shape Up Kittitas County, KEEN, and Ellensburg Public Library sponsored a screening of the film "Good Food" and presented to the community about Community Food Assessments . Also, potential partners, participants, and volunteers for a local Community Food Assessment were recruited.
June 2009
Coalition members attended a Community Food Assessment training sponsored by the Access to Healthy Foods Coalition in Tacoma, WA.
November 2007
Food Access Coalition participants began discussing what kinds of things they would want to know from a community food assessment and who could be potential partners.
August 2007
Colleen Donovan, a coalition member from Heifer International, presented an introduction to Community Food Assessments to the Food Access Coalition.
June 2007
Food Access Coalition for Kittitas County established a mission statement and goals. The third goal focuses on assessment: identify community needs, assets, and resources with respect to food access and nutrition education.

Examples of Community Food Assessments

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