Community food access study

This research project, conducted in partnership with Boulder Food Rescueuses a Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach to explore the experiences of people facing food insecurity in Boulder, their barriers in accessing food, and the opportunities to take action, through technology and other means, to bolster food recovery efforts and to support people in actualizing their own personal and family food security. Specifically, our research questions are:

  1. What are the different experiences that people have with food insecurity?
  2. What barriers prevent people from accessing and eating healthy, culturally-appropriate food for themselves and their families for all their meals?
  3. How does technology currently play a role in helping people access food?
  4. What does “personal and family food security” look like for different people?
  5. What strategies, developed by the food insecure community, could support people in realizing their own personal and familial food security?

Through this research, we aim to develop a set of prototype ideas to increase food security in Boulder. In order to successfully answer our research questions and develop meaningful prototypes, we must use inclusive and truly community-based research research activities, which include the voices of those affected by food insecurity in their design and implementation. In total, we are conducting four research activities to answer the questions and develop prototype ideas:

  1. A qualitative exploration of food insecurity experiences in Boulder, using multimedia elicitation interviews (MEIs)
  2. Participatory group data analysis workshops to analyze data from the MEI semi-structured interviews
  3. Design workshops exploring the space of strategies to create increased participation in efforts to improve food access
  4. A cross-sectional survey using primarily structured survey questions and responses

We crowdfunded research activities 2 and 3 with the generous support of our community, friends, and family.

We conducted research activities 1 through 3 (the MEIs, participatory data analysis workshops, and participatory design workshops). Analyses and reports of these activities are in progress and preliminary results are available on the pages for each study (see above).