A focus on food system development and planning recognizes the need for change. Change requires assessment of where we are currently and where we need to be. Community food system assessment is a participatory and collaborative process that measures assets, resources and gaps of the various food system components and a broad range of related food issues. It is designed based on pre-determined goals and objectives and can involve varying degrees of community engagement and can foster awareness and understanding as various perspectives are considered. It offers a baseline from which to measure change and development and can inspire a vision for healthy and viable community food system. An initial food system assessment can lead to continuous measurement and analysis if systems are put into place to collect data on an ongoing basis.
What’s Cooking in Your Food System? A Guide to Community Food Assessment – Community Food Security Coalition USA – 2002
Type of Resource: Tool, Case Studies
SFS Category: Food Systems Development – Assessment, Strategies, Community Food Assessment
This resource offers guidelines for planning, designing, and implementing a community food assessment. Guidelines are supported by several United States case studies and policy literature.
Ontario Deprivation Index – Daily Bread Food Bank and Caledon Institute of Social Policy – 2009
Type of Resource: Tool, webpage, data tables
SFS Category: Food system development – measures and indicators, social determinates of health Access – Cost of food, poverty indicator
Webpage outlines the research, development, and data tables behind the 2009 Ontario deprivation index. The index measures the degree and percentage of poverty in the province using 10 indicators of social health, including access to food.
Where’s the food? Finding out about Food in Your Community
Type of Resource: Community Food Security Assessment toolkit
SFS Category: Field to Fork (Community Food Security) Assessment
While originally designed for use by JustFood Ottawa, ON., this toolkit provides practical guidelines and support for any municipal community looking to further explore with or redevelop their food system. Highlights farm to fork initiatives, access to healthy foods, and community involvement.
Measuring the Food Environment in Canada
Type of Resource: Report, Meta-Analysis, Interviews, Case Study
SFS Category: Health and the Food System, Access – Food Costs and Food deserts, Urban/Rural distinction
This report acts as a meta-analysis of existing research into the Canadian food landscape and includes considerations around accessibility, availability, affordable, and quality. Research gaps and future initiatives are addressed.
A methodological approach to assess and compare the sustainability level of agricultural plant production systems, Dantis, et al., 2010.
Type of Resource: Journal publication, Tool
SFS Category: Sustainability, Production, Measures/indicators
This article offers a novel analytical tool for assessing the sustainability of regional agricultural practices using 21 unique indicators. The research defined sustainability as a balance between environmental, economic, and social interests.