Assessing Demand of Culturally Appropriate Local Foods

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Assessing Demand of Culturally Appropriate Local Foods for King County in Washington State amongst East African residents- primarily Somali residents. Published in Runta News:http://www.runtanews.com/2015/01/10/a-study-on-somalieast-african-foods-in-king-county/

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<ul><li><p>ASSESS ING DEMAND OF </p><p>CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE LOCAL </p><p>FOODS FOR EAST AFR ICANS IN </p><p>K ING COUNTY </p><p>Carolyn Foster, Dani Gilmour, Matt Wildey, Schell Liu </p><p>Community, Environment and Planning, Autumn 2014 </p><p>Professors Jill Sterrett and Branden Born </p></li><li><p>2 </p><p>Table of Contents </p><p>Executive Summary | 1 </p><p>Introduction | 2 </p><p>Purpose and Scope | 4 </p><p>Client and Audience | 5 </p><p>Methodology and Results | 6 </p><p>Additional Information | 13 </p><p>Conclusions | 15 </p><p>Next Steps and Recommendations | 17 </p></li><li><p>3 </p><p>Acknowledgments </p><p>Thank you to the following individuals for their guidance, support, and collaboration without which this </p><p>project would not have been possible. </p><p>Abdi Aden </p><p>Fresh and Green Produce </p><p>Andrew Stout </p><p>Full Circle </p><p>Branden Born &amp; Jill Sterrett </p><p>University of Washington </p><p>Devon Love </p><p>Center for Multicultural Health </p><p>Erick Haakenson </p><p>Jubilee Farm </p><p>Kate Selting </p><p>Columbia City Farmers Market </p><p>Micah Anderson </p><p>Seattle Tilth Farm Works </p><p>Mohamud Yussuf </p><p>OneAmerica </p><p>Nicole Capizzi </p><p>Washington State Department of Agriculture </p><p>Nimco Bulale </p><p>East African Community Services </p></li><li><p>1 </p><p> This project is designed to determine the extent to which demand exists for culturally </p><p>appropriate foods in King County that local farmers can produce and provide. This is a study to </p><p>support the Local Food Initiative in examining how King County can expand its local food economy </p><p>to develop a sustainable and resilient local food system, as well as increase access to healthy </p><p>affordable foods. We worked to identify the demand of fresh fruits and vegetables for people of </p><p>East African descent in South King County, and the feasibility of meeting that demand with locally </p><p>grown King County produce- with special focus on Farmers Markets as a retail outlet. </p><p> We surveyed a selection of the East African population to determine fruit and vegetable </p><p>demand then interviewed community contacts and farmers. As a result, we were able to compile a </p><p>list of the top 10 demanded vegetables and fruits. We then related key information from farmers </p><p>about supply capabilities. We conclude that the current demand is likely being met for fruits and </p><p>vegetables within this subset of the population. Integrating local produce through import </p><p>substitution is a possibility to further explore, but meeting demand for local produce through </p><p>farmers markets might not be the most effective method. This research is the first step in </p><p>developing a model of future study on the topic of culturally appropriate food availability within </p><p>specific cultural groups. This research could be conducted further to aid the Local Food Initiative in </p><p>understanding demands of the diverse diets of King County. </p><p>Executive Summary </p></li><li><p>2 </p><p> King County wants to know the extent to which demand exists for culturally appropriate </p><p>foods (CAFs) among its residents that its farmers can produce and provide. An increase in culturally </p><p>diverse populations is forecasted for King County, and these aspects of food consumption and </p><p>production had not been researched before this study. This project is looking to identify the </p><p>demand of culturally appropriatehealthyfoods1, and determine the feasibility of meeting this </p><p>demand with locally produced products. Farmers markets are identified as a specific pathway to </p><p>consider when looking to bridge this supply and demand. Our team addressed these goals in </p><p>designing and carrying out our project: Assessing Demand of Culturally Appropriate Local Foods for </p><p>East Africans in King County. We worked to identify the demanded CAFs for East Africans in King </p><p>County, and explored the strategy of import substitution based on the viability of growing these </p><p>products for farmers in King County. The purpose of pursuing these answers is based on a recent </p><p>initiative to increase access to local healthy food by boosting the local agricultural economy in King </p><p>County. </p><p> Every year, King County spends $6 billion purchasing food. Unfortunately, less than 2% of </p><p>this purchased food is grown in King County. King County Executive Dow Constantine recognized </p><p>this issue and addressed it in June of 2014 with his Local Food Economy Initiative2. This initiative is </p><p>working towards bridging the gap between the productive and valuable farmland in our region and </p><p>the plates of King County residents. The initiative is framed to address the current discrepancy by </p><p>expanding our local food economy and improving healthy food access. An increase of locally </p><p>produced food will greatly bolster King Countys economy. With increased focus on affordable </p><p>access, this increase could also benefit lower-income communities of King County. </p><p> An advisory group of local stakeholders was created to address these goals and construct </p><p>the plan of action for this initiative. This group is called the Kitchen Cabinet and consists of </p><p>leaders in King Countys: agricultural community, grocery retail, restaurant sector, produce </p><p>distribution, farmland preservation, human service non-governmental organizations, academia, </p><p>local and state partner organizations, and community. This group began meeting in June 2014 and </p><p>concluded in November 2014. Their targets, strategies and action items are now published online in </p><p>draft form3. Overarching tactics to expand the local food economy include: increasing procurement </p><p>1 fruits, vegetables, meat/poultry, and dairy products 2 Local Food Initiative, Last Modified October 30, 2014, http://www.kingcounty.gov/exec/local-food.aspx 3 DRAFT Targets, Strategies, and Action Items for the Food Economy Goal, DRAFT Targets, Strategies, and Action Items </p><p>for the Food Access Goal </p><p>Introduction </p><p>http://www.kingcounty.gov/exec/local-food.aspxhttp://your.kingcounty.gov/dnrp/local-food/documents/2014-Food-Economy-draft.pdfhttp://your.kingcounty.gov/dnrp/local-food/documents/2014-Healthy-Food-Access-Plan-draft.pdfhttp://your.kingcounty.gov/dnrp/local-food/documents/2014-Healthy-Food-Access-Plan-draft.pdf</p></li><li><p>3 </p><p>of local foods based on burgeoning interest from residents, tourists and food-related businesses, </p><p>reducing barriers for farmers to sell products locally, and preserving farmland from development as </p><p>the region grows. To increase access to healthy foods, the initiative seeks to increase local food </p><p>procurement via institutions such as schools, hospitals and jails; strengthen connections between </p><p>producers and food retailers; and partner with community organizations to promote health and </p><p>wellness. </p><p> Our project bridges both of these initiatives by investigating current demand and potential </p><p>increase in supply of locally grown healthy CAFs. Our project is also a baseline for future research for </p><p>East Africans in King County and other King County residents with identifiable CAFs. </p></li><li><p>4 </p><p> Given the context of the Local Food Initiative, our group was specifically tasked with </p><p>focusing on expansion of the production and sales of CAFs that are demanded by the diverse </p><p>residents of King County. To make this task more manageable, we focused on one area of South </p><p>Seattle, one ethnic group, and two types of local healthy CAFs. </p><p> Since farmers markets are a selling space for locally produced foods, we wanted to focus on </p><p>an area of King County that had a farmers market nearby. This way, we could potentially meet the </p><p>demand with locally grown produce. We chose Columbia City because it is home to the furthest </p><p>south farmers market in Seattle, and is an area with well-known ethnic and racial diversity. Using </p><p>2010 Census Data (Appendix A) it was determined that percent Foreign Born Black or African </p><p>American was the highest ethnic percentage of nonwhite individuals in Columbia City. From there, </p><p>our client suggested that we further narrow our ethnic group to East Africans. We decided to </p><p>specifically look at CAFs that were fruits and vegetables because those items are most frequently </p><p>sold at farmers markets. </p><p> With this scope, our main objective was to determine the top 10 CAFs, specifically fruits and </p><p>vegetables, for residents of East African descent living in Columbia City. We later changed this to </p><p>include residents of East African descent living in South Seattle, as our connections led us beyond </p><p>Columbia City, and it became apparent that it was not significant for the study if individuals lived </p><p>specifically in Columbia City. </p><p> In addition to identifying the top ten culturally appropriate fruits and vegetables, we also </p><p>wanted to know if and where these residents purchase the determined fruits and vegetables. We </p><p>also sought to understand the feasibility of King County farmers to grow these fruits and </p><p>vegetables, and the feasibility of expanding the production if already being grown. </p><p>Purpose and Scope </p></li><li><p>5 </p><p> Our client is Lilly Simmering, manager of the King County Department of Natural Resources </p><p>and Parks, which launched the Local Food Economy Initiative program. This program aims to </p><p>expand our local food economy, and improve healthy food access in low-income communities. We </p><p>were in regular contact with Lilly to keep her updated on our progress. We received detailed </p><p>information from Lilly during our first meeting, in addition to connections for us to collaborate with. </p><p> Our audience is the Kitchen Cabinet, which was appointed by Executive Constantine to </p><p>collect advice from private sector food economy leaders, farmers, and policy makers on developing </p><p>a local food economy agenda. Other stakeholders include King County farmers, King County food </p><p>policy makers, and relevant decision makers. The process of our project provides a methodology </p><p>framework for how to work with ethnic communities in the future. Our results and conclusion show </p><p>what East African communities living in Columbia City like to eat and give a sense as to where they </p><p>primarily obtain such foods. With this information, King County may look into assisting farmers on </p><p>growing or expanding production of the identified CAFs. </p><p>Client &amp; Audience </p></li><li><p>6 </p><p>Methodologies Explained </p><p> To determine the CAFs demanded by the East African community, we decided to directly </p><p>talk with community members. We surveyed a small sample of these community members to better </p><p>understand the community as a whole. </p><p> Next, we connected with contacts of multiple community organizations and conducted </p><p>interviews with them. These organizations work with the East African population as well as minority </p><p>and disadvantaged populations in Seattle. Our purpose of interviewing individuals at these </p><p>organizations was to give more context to the situation that exists within King County for the East </p><p>African community. Because we had more direct questions depending on each organization, an </p><p>interview was the proper method. This gave us an opportunity to discuss the results from the </p><p>surveys with community members and use information gleaned from both approaches to make </p><p>conclusions. </p><p> Finally, to match the demand found in the results of the community surveys to the local food </p><p>supply, we interviewed farmers in King County ranging from small to large scale. Based on their </p><p>agricultural experience based in Western Washington, these farmers generally represent agricultural </p><p>possibilities in the region accurately. We sent each farmer the same set of questions (shown in </p><p>section D), expecting relative replicability between each respondent. </p><p> For the most part, contacting these different groups happened on a step by step basis. Our </p><p>first step was contacting the community to assess their food demands, with this preliminary data we </p><p>triangulated our conclusions with anecdotal evidence from our key informants, and we then </p><p>interviewed farmers about these identified foods to understand the feasibility for local agriculture to </p><p>meet these demands. Through this entire process, we gleaned information beyond our original </p><p>questions which will be presented in the section titled: Additional Information. For the purpose of </p><p>this study, we focused solely on fruits and vegetables. In the next subsection, we will go more in </p><p>depth into our specific methodologies to address this need. </p><p>Intercept Surveys </p><p> We went through several iterations of our survey based on feedback from our client and </p><p>Nimco at East African Community Services. Input from Nimco provided insight into word choice, as </p><p>she speaks Somali. We conducted the survey in an intercept method- asking East African folks to </p><p>take a few minutes out of their activities to answer questions for us. Because of this, we knew that </p><p>the survey needed to be short, so that participants would be more enticed to engage. We also knew </p><p>Methodology and Results </p></li><li><p>7 </p><p>that many of the respondents do not speak English as a first language, so assuring the questions </p><p>were simple allowed for greater comprehension. Our final survey is listed in Table 1. </p><p>Table 1. Survey of Food Demand by East Africans </p><p>1. What fresh fruits and vegetables do you eat often? Please name 10 </p><p>2. Where do you typically purchase these fresh fruits and vegetables? </p><p>3. Do you shop at the Columbia City Farmers Market? Yes No </p><p> a. Why or why not? </p><p>4. What fresh fruits or vegetables do you want to be sold that are not sold? </p><p>5. If these fresh fruits and vegetables were available at the Columbia City Farmers Market would you </p><p>purchase them? </p><p> a. Why or why not? </p><p>6. Additional comments: </p><p>Survey Questions Explained </p><p> Our first question asked respondents to list vegetable and fruits that they eat. This opening </p><p>question has the highest value because it helped determine the demand. Question two was asked </p><p>where these fruits and vegetables were being purchased. This could potentially help us connect </p><p>demand to supply. Since the overall goal is for this supply to be grown within King County, it was </p><p>identified that a possible location of purchasing local produce was at the Columbia City Farmers </p><p>Market. Question three delves deeper into understanding the respondents relationship with the </p><p>Columbia City Farmers Market. Question four is designed to determine potential demand that is not </p><p>being met and where production could be increased. Finally, question five was asked to develop </p><p>one possible connection of local supply to demand at the Columbia City Farmers Market. </p><p> Locations </p><p> We conducted our intercept surveys at two different locations. Both of these locations were </p><p>chosen because of previous personal connections, proximity to our defined area, and direct work </p><p>with our population subset. The first location was East African Community Services. This </p><p>organization works with East African immigrants and refugees to provide support with their </p><p>transition to Seattle. One of the services they offer is after school tutoring. We set up an evening </p><p>where our team traded a few hours of tutoring children for the opportunity to survey their parents </p><p>when they came to pick their kids up. In this way, we were able to help respond to the needs of the </p></li><li><p>8 </p><p>organization while also getting survey results. We tutored elementary aged children and when their </p><p>mothers came to pi...</p></li></ul>

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