Purdue Agricultural Economics Research to Measure Access to Local Foods in the Anderson Community

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University measures access to local foods in Anderson, Indiana, through a collaboration with the Madison County Local Food Network (MCLFN).

Purdue Agricultural Economics intends to assess how locally grown food sources in Madison County can meet the needs of low-income consumers. Undergraduate research student Claire Baney will lead the project with MCLFN and Purdue Extension community development program manager Michael Wilcox.

The study aims to identify the specific needs and consumer demands of economically disadvantaged households struggling with food insecurity – a community in which purchasing power is often overlooked in the market. The research team worked with Anderson Pantries and Community Services Offices to hear from this group directly. The results of the study will be shared publicly to expand community food justice work and educate local producers on how their products can be more accessible.

“This study will provide the information needed to identify gaps in the local food system. This will help identify and meet the food access needs of individuals and families, increase potential quality data to help increase potential funding coming to Madison County and more,” says Chelsie Jaramillo, Coordinator of Community Welfare at Purdue Extension-Madison County.

The research team is committed to identifying better ways to expand access to food.

“Across the United States, disparities in socioeconomic status prevent people from accessing nutritious foods that are healthy for them, the environment, and local economies,” said Baney, who is completing this project as part of an honors thesis. “Our task is to understand how we can remove barriers to food security in a mutually beneficial way that improves the livelihoods of food insecure farmers, farmworkers and communities.”

The survey will be open until February 26. Study participants can complete the survey online at https://bit.ly/3nrbLBf or complete a paper survey by visiting Anderson’s participating sites. Additionally, a group chat will be offered from 5:30-7:00 p.m. ET on March 1 via Zoom and from 6:00-7:30 p.m. on March 3. Residents can join the discussion group online at https://bit.ly/3FPhIy3. For questions about how to participate as a survey respondent or focus group contributor, contact Claire Baney at cbaney@purdue.edu.

About Madison County Local Food Network

Madison County Local Food Network is a nonprofit organization in Indiana whose mission is to create a more vibrant community that provides equitable access to affordable, nutritious food for all Madison County residents. For more information about MCLFN and how to get involved, visit https://madcofood.org.

Media Contact: Abby Leeds, mayer36@purdue.edu

Writer: Claire Baney, cbaney@purdue.edu

Source: Michael Wilcox, wilcox16@purdue.edu

Agricultural communications: 765-494-8415;

Maureen Manier, Head of Department, mmanier@purdue.edu

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