Practical Evaluation Ideas for Food Security Projects

foodAcross Canada, groups are developing innovative new ideas designed to help people have full access to affordable and nutritious food.  One of the challenges that these projects face is evaluating their impact.  Last year, the Public Health Agency of Canada invited TNC to develop an evaluation resource guide for food security projects.  

The food security sector looks beyond emergency food access programs and works to create innovative programs that have a deeper impact on equitable food access, nutrition and health. Many of these organizations must rely on government or philanthropic partners to fund their programs and initiatives, and so they must navigate a challenging funding environment to ensure their long-term viability. In this era of scarce resources, there are increased demands for programs to demonstrate their impact.  Do food security programs lead to people in need gaining stable access to nutritional food?  In many cases, the information to answer this question is not available.

Many food security organizations and groups are small and grassroots, with little capacity to engage in evaluation research about their impact.  Staff often do not have the knowledge, skills, and tools to do so.  The Public Health Agency of Canada partnered with TNC to support food security programs in evaluating their interventions and their outcomes.

In response, TNC created Evaluating Outcomes of Community Food Actions: A Guide. This guide is a powerful tool for food security organizations to reflecton on their approaches to food security, their expected outcomes, and strategies to measure impact.  Using this guide will help many different food security organizations to build their own capacity to not only assess their effectiveness but communicate their work to other audiences, including funders.

The guide is now in use across Canada and is available free online.  The response to the guide has been very positive. Click here to review two webinars in which food security experts from across Canada discuss their use of the guide.  Do you know an organization that may benefit from the guide? Please consider sharing it with them.

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