A Seat at the Table: Implications of Structure and Diversity in Community Food Assessments


  • Scott Matynka University of Saskatchewan
  • Rachel Engler-Stringer




community food assessment, collaboration, community food security, quality of life


Food insecurity associated with adverse physical and psychological health conditions is an issue faced by 12.5 percent of Canadian households. Current methods of food production and distribution serve to propagate rather than ameliorate these problems. A growing emphasis on the promotion of community food security aims to address not only the challenges of food security but also the underlying inequities and quality of life issues. Community food assessments are being employed in efforts to gain an understanding of the food system and its impacts. Conducted in conjunction with the Saskatoon Regional Food Assessment (SRFA), this study explores structures that contribute value and promote engagement among participants. While implementation is guided by best practices, currently the assessment process lacks theoretical grounding to allow a deeper understanding of the process. SRFA steering committee members were invited to participate in a two-stage interview examining their experience and perceptions of the process. Existing ideological perspectives of committee members played a significant role in their perceptions of the current food system and the effectiveness of implementing community food security approaches. Systemic change for enhanced community quality of life will require a highly structured collaboration and a strong central vision for participants to find common ground for mutual benefit.




How to Cite

Matynka, S., & Engler-Stringer, R. (2016). A Seat at the Table: Implications of Structure and Diversity in Community Food Assessments. Engaged Scholar Journal: Community-Engaged Research, Teaching, and Learning, 1(2). https://doi.org/10.15402/esj.v1i2.118

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