Use of a participatory planning process as a way to build community food security

Christine McCullum, David Pelletier, Donald Barr, Jennifer Wilkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine the multiple meanings of community food security among stakeholders with diverse interests and to assess the degree to which these stakeholders could find common ground around community food security during a participatory planning process called a search conference. The conceptual framework of citizen politics guided all aspects of the research design. In-depth, qualitative interviews were conducted with 44 participants purposefully recruited to attend a 2 1/2-day search conference. Open-ended questionnaires were distributed to all participants during the search conference, and a document review was performed. Prior to the search conference, 4 community food secruity groups emerged: anti-hunger advocates (n=12), agricultural visionaries (n=12), food traditionalists (n=10), and agricultural entrepreneurs (n=8). Participants were able to find common ground around 6 community food security action agendas: distribution of surplus food, education, family and community values, food processing and marketing, legislative initiatives and action, and new agriculture. Other salient community food security issues emerged, but they were not included on any of the action agendas. Formal training in facilitation, negotiation, conflict resolution, and how to influence the public policy-making process will enable dietetics professionals to effectively collaborate with community-based groups that have a stake in food security issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)962-967
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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