Why do a food assessment?
Food security is a right.
Access to adequate healthy food is a critical component of community food security. Food security is a fundamental right of every person as our diet is one of the most important factors in good health. Performing a food assessment and opening dialogue can be the first step in improving community food security.
In order to make a decision or plan action(s) to improve food security in your community, you first need to have a clear understanding of the current situation—e.g., what resources and services are available? What is lacking? What are the possible causes or influences on food security in your community? A food assessment is tool to start an analysis of the current state of your community’s food landscape or environment. It is used to inventory food retail and services, and to better understand the 1. Accessibility 2. Affordability 3. Availability 4. Adequacy 5. Awareness, and 6. Appropriateness, of food in your community. A community based food assessment goes further in that it also gathers information on the community’s perceptions and behaviours in the food environment, and helps understand awareness of food in the community
Step 1 of a food assessment is to collect information and analyze the situation together with your community, so that you can find the best way to respond to the issues that are compromising food security in your community. Research has shown that learning about community food and sharing the knowledge can empower the community and increase its capacity to create positive change while building broader awareness and support for the local system. Examples of food assessments and other food security tools from other communities are available in Step 5.