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Food Systems and Human Health: Understanding Influences on Food Security, Food Access, and Diet Quality

Principal Investigator/Project Leader: 
Department of Project: 
Nutrition Dept.
Project Description: 

1) Program Participants: food delivery through Senior Food Boxes, Surveys to assess food security, food access, healthy food consumption, and program perceptions and experiences; 2) Program Staff/Producers: Interviews with key
informants (i.e., program staff and producers/farmers) to assess program efficiencies, program challenges, and ideas for addressing those challenges.

1) Program Participants: Pre and post survey to assess program impact on food security, healthful eating, and perceptions and experiences of program. All program participants (n=200) will be invited to complete the survey after they receive their food box; completing the survey is completely voluntary and will not influence program participation. Surveys will be conducted at 4 points in time - October 2021 (post); and June/July 2022 (pre), September/October 2022 (post). In 2022, we are not tracking participants and while the same participate may complete one or both of the surveys, they will not be linked between the June/July and Sept/October surveys. The 2021 survey will serve as a pilot data to develop the study design for 2022 and 2023. The 2021 surveys include questions on program participation (e.g., how often they receive food from the program? weekly, monthly, one or two times per summer); perceptions (e.g., what other produce would you like to see in your food box?); access (e.g., How close do you live to a supermarket? and based on our five pillars of access article Hsiao, Sibeko, Wicks, and
Troy, 2017 Public Health Nutrition. Troy, the PI of this proposal) is the senior author with a graduate student as the lead author and community partner as co-author); produce consumption (how many vegetables do you eat per day?); food security (e.g., in the past 12 months, have you not bought food because you did not have enough money?) and social isolation (e.g., how often do you eat alone?). To assess need and desires to participate in a winter Food Box receipt. Based on the results of the July 2022 cross-sectional survey, the post survey in September will be created. Based on the 2021 results the 2022 pre- and post- surveys will be created. The Study Design for 2023 will be longitudinal. Aggregated data from surveys will be presented at annual meetings, conferences, program reports, and in published manuscripts. No individual or identifying information will be presented.

2) Program Staff/Producers: Key Informant Interviews will be conducted with producers (n=7-10) and 1-2 staff members (n=4-8) at different sites to assess facilitators and barriers to program operations before and during COVID-19. To assess the feasibility of a food distribution during winter season. The Key Informant Interview guide will serve as a template and be shared with other organizations interested in similar questions to improve operations. Results from the interviews will used to improve program efficiencies and to help increase distribution of food boxes to additional older adults.

Nutrition topics: 
Food Access