1. Communication

Our first step to our project was reaching out to Grow Hartford to hear more about their initiative and how we can help their platform grow. After our initial conversation, we communicated with the Hartford Public School Director of Food Programs, Lonnie Burt, to help us create a guide including the food served in HPS, the nutritional content of the foods, and a list of the main distributors. This information allowed us to see if Hartford Public Schools are meeting the guidelines set by the government. It also helped us understand if these guidelines are sufficient in creating a nutritious menu, which we judged by Grow Hartford’s standards of what constitutes a nutritious meal. It also gave us insight on who to contact in regards to the sourcing of the foods.

2.  Research and Analysis

Our team began the research for our Hartford nutrition project by reading and discussing peer-reviewed research, analyzing work that has already been done concerning food oppression and nutrition. We then found articles on the nutrition content of specific foods in schools to determine the nutritional value of Hartford Public School food. We also conducted primary data analysis by exploring the FDA guidelines and Hartford Public School’s website, as well as the information provided to us from Lonnie Burt.

3. Power Mapping

Lastly, we designed a power-map – a visual tool used to identify individuals that could be helpful in promoting social change – for the individuals we found through our research that had an influence on shaping school nutrition, particularly in Hartford Public Schools and the state of Connecticut. This tool helped determine the level of power each person had regarding school food decisions, the level of engagement Grow Hartford currently has with them, and which power players are the most important in providing Grow Hartford with the information necessary to further develop their mission and reach their goals. 

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