Non Technical Summary
The city of Clarkston, Georgia in metro Atlanta is one of the most culturally-diverse square miles in the US, with 46% of residents foreign-born refugees and immigrants. Because refugees arrive with limited or no English proficiency and experience high poverty rates, many struggle to understandthe American food system and cannot afford fresh, healthy, culturally-appropriate foods. Meanwhile, local refugee & immigrant farmers who could provide affordable traditional foods have not found profitable markets in Clarkston.The Clarkston Food Initiative will gather evidence to support community-based, culturally- appropriate approaches to overcoming these barriers, by convening a Food Planning Network (FPN) that includes at least 60% representatives from the Clarkston-based refugee community, as well as a minority of representatives from local government and food businesses. The goals of this project and the FPN are to 1) identify priorities for food system development and 2) develop community-based strategies to work towards these local priorities. With our partners at the IRC, we will conduct a cultural food needs assessment of low-income, international Clarkston residents to build evidence for food and nutrition-related needs of refugee families. The FPN, with support from Global Growers, will assess food needs and preferences of consumers and the marketing needs of producers in order to meet the needs of refugee farmers and low-income, refugee consumers by developing culturally-appropriate strategies for food access and sales. With support from the partner organizations in this proposal, the collaborative Food Planning Network will explore community linkages and map existing assets in order to make strategic recommendations for long- term local food system development in Clarkston that mutually benefits producers and consumers.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories
Goals / Objectives
Goal 1: Identify priorities for food system development. Objective 1: Conduct a cultural food needs assessment of low-income, international Clarkston residents related to culturally-specific food needs for consumers and producers.Goal 2: Develop community-based strategies to work towards priorities identified in Goal 1Objective 2a: Meet the economic needs of agricultural producers and low-income consumers in Clarkston through the creation of innovative marketing and entrepreneurial activities that mitigate culturally-specific barriers to food access and sales.
Activities to Achieve Outcome 1a:1a) Design a culturally and linguistically appropriate survey2a) Pilot the survey with 15 IRC client families, then collect and evaluate feedback in order to make necessary revisions.3a) Train IRC and Global Growers volunteers and interpreters, including students from the IRC Youth Food Justice program, to administer the survey.4a) Volunteers and interpreters will administer the survey with oversight and guidance provided by the GG Community Builder and IRC New Roots Coordinator. The survey will be completed by: a) refugees arriving for appointments at the IRC office, b) refugee families living in Clarkston (door knocks), and c) refugee families who are participants at community garden projects.5a) Analyze survey results with support from IRC Technical Advisors.Outcome 1b: Formalize a community-based, collaborative Food Planning NetworkOutput 1b: Convene the various local community groups, organizations, businesses, and government entities to explore community linkages and map existing assetsActivities to Achieve Outcome 1b:1b) With key support from the partner organizations (see Part II), GG will conduct outreach among Network projects, community groups, and faith-based groups in order to identify a diverse group of potential participants who have been in the Clarkston area for at least two years. Our project team partners (see letters of support) from the Clarkston community will be essential to supporting these outreach efforts and playing an active role in the development of the Food Planning Network.2b) Through this outreach, GG will identify participants to serve on the local Food Planning Network (FPN), with anticipated participation from refugee producers, refugee consumers, refugee community leaders, local food businesses and organizations, and government representatives from the City of Clarkston. 3b) Host two open informational sessions for groups and community members interested in the Food Planning Network, with the purpose of sharing survey results and a project overview.4b) Arrange an initial meeting with committed stakeholders of the Food Planning Network (FPN) to a) suggest additional partners and b) identify initial goals and motivations of each member. The Food Planning Network will have at least ten (10) participants, with representation from refugee food producers, refugee food consumers, and local stakeholders from nonprofit, business, and governmental organizations. GG will ensure that refugee participants make up at least 60% of the Food Planning Network.5b) GG will convene the Food Planning Network four (4) times.Activities to Achieve Outcome 2a:1a) The Food Planning Network (FPN), with support from the GG Community Builder, will develop open-ended discussion questions related to consumer shopping habits, including but not limited to: use of EBT/SNAP, market style preferences, shopping preferences (location, days, times), product preferences, and opportunities for improving food access of diverse Clarkston residents. 2a) The FPN will plan and host five (5) town hall-style community meetings in Clarkston with at least 75 attendees. The purpose of the community meeting include to identify consumer preferences and suggestions for strategies to improve local food sales opportunities so they are culturally-appropriate for the diverse community. The meetings will also share information about local resources to support food system development.Outcome 2b: Assess marketing needs of producersOutput 2b: Conduct interviews with ten (10) local refugee farmers to discuss current market conditions/venues and the economic, educational, and market needs of producersActivities to Achieve Outcome 2b:1b) The Food Planning Network (FPN), with support from the GG Community Builder, will develop interview questions for local refugee food producers that are responsive to consumer priorities.2b) The GG community builder will conduct interviews with ten (10) local food producers to discuss current market conditions and their strategies to improve local market access.3b) The FPN will review interview results and produce recommendations for future actions and steps in order to strategically address improving food access and market access for refugee producers and consumers in Clarkston, GA.