Our research about sustainable, local and healthy foods in Hartford consisted of 4 primary parts; research of existing sources, interviews with experts in the Hartford food system, surveys of Hartford residents and a survey about flyers promoting eating locally.
Research from Existing Sources
Our research conducted before entering the field consisted of collecting resources and research data that would give us a better understanding of the Hartford food system. We compiled sources of information that could be used by Hartford residents to either increase access to healthy, local foods such as farmers’ market website or just provide information about how to use local foods and produce such as recipe websites. We looked at many areas of the food system such as community gardens, SNAP, school lunch programs, local farms, and farmers’ markets. You can view many of the sources we used under our resources tab in the menu bar above.
We conducted interviews with experts that work within the food system of Hartford. We wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the local food system and the food consumers that pertains specifically to Hartford. Through these interviews, we uncovered past research studies that had not been found in our previous resource search and learned about the inner workings of farmers markets and other food system organizations.
Resident Shopping Survey
One of our primary goals was to obtain information from Hartford residents about their current shopping habits. We wanted to know how residents shop and what is important to them when making their food choices. This survey helped us discover the ways that different types of information are distributed and how it affects residents’ food choices. We surveyed 26 Hartford residents at the Stop and Shop on New Park Avenue on a number of days including October 21st at 5:00 pm, October 24th at 7:00 pm, October 28th at 4:00 pm and November 2nd at 9:00 am.
The questions on the survey asked about residents’ knowledge of farmers’ markets in Hartford, what factors they considered when making a food purchase, and their knowledge of food programs in Hartford. You can access the full resident survey here. We also learned about residents’ knowledge about the SNAP program and about farmers markets’ in Hartford.
For the third part of our research, we used the information we had gathered from our resident shopping survey to create 3 marketing flyers that would promote local foods. The purpose of this marketing survey was to determine what kind of information and which flyer format is the most effective to inform Hartford residents about why it is beneficial to eat locally. We created 3 flyers that we believed would all be effective to inform residents about eating locally, but each flyer contained different types of information in different formats. We then created a survey to test each of these flyers to see which flyer Hartford residents liked the most. We surveyed 30 residents at the Stop and Shop on New Park Avenue on November 25th from 7:00-8:30 pm, and on November 26th from 8:00-9:30 pm. We asked residents to rate their favorite flyer on the clarity of information, visual impact, and relevance to their life.
Below is a simplified timeline of the project’s process.