Focus Research Goals And Methods
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Focus Research Goals And Methods

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Focus Research Goals And Methods Focus Research Goals And Methods Presentation Transcript

  • Or, how can a bunch of eggheads help schools “feed more kids”? David Conner Michigan State University FOCUS Research Goals and Methods
  • Acknowledgements
    • Thanks to
    • The W. K. Kellogg Foundation for funding for this project
    • Liquori and Assoc. for ongoing leadership
    • St Paul Public Schools for incredible patience, cooperation and generosity with time
    • Learning Lab partners Dorothy and Getachew
    • You, for having me!
  • Overview: Research Methods
    • Overall approach: participatory action research meets economics
    • Background research
    • Priority items
    • Research questions
    • Activities
    • Key lessons learned so far
  • Research Methods?
  • Learning Lab?
  • Transforming the Food System!
  • Methods
    • Unique Model
    • Co-learning
    • Participatory
    • Action oriented
    • “ No transformation without ambiguity and risk”
    • Investigate potential of “value chain” approach: strategic partnerships for long term mutual benefit
  • Background research
    • Lay of the land
    • What does the school food team consider “local”?
    • USDA Census of Agriculture Data: what crops does the region grow? Specifically, for what crops is supply > demand?
    • Interviews with state department of agriculture, commodity groups, active participants in local food markets:
      • What are the most prominent local foods
      • How do they get to consumers?
  • Background
    • Local/region is five-state area: MN, WI, IA, ND, SD
    • Twin Cities has thriving local food movement:
      • 14 farmers markets
      • 31 CSAs
    • Good regional supply of:
      • Wheat, oats, dry beans
      • Processing vegetables: peas, corn, beans, carrots
      • Pork, eggs, dairy
    • Common local foods: apples, squash, sweet corn, peppers, tomatoes
  • Priority items-changes for SPPS
    • Milk
      • Lower sugar in flavored milk
      • Produced without rBST
    • Bread
      • Locally produced (local flour)
      • More whole grains
    • Fruits and vegetables
      • Local
      • Fair costs/benefits for all
    • Poultry
      • Local turkey?
      • Healthier
  • Research Questions
    • As “contract” with school team: will responses permit desired change?
    • As guide to interviews and data analysis
    • What are current practices?
    • What are other options?
    • What are the tradeoffs?
    • What has to change to make it happen?
      • School practices and policies
      • Vendor products and practices
      • Public policies
  • Activities
    • Interviews
    • Current and prospective suppliers
    • MN School Buying Club
    • Commodity group
    • School data analysis
    • Historical purchase data: prices, quantities
    • Delivery routes
    • Hypothesis formation and testing
  • Lessons: “A shrink, an economist and a big travel budget…”
    • “ School Food 101” is complicated
      • Learning curve for us
    • Value of us teaching SF101 to vendors
    • “ Legwork” is time consuming, necessary –how to expedite for future pilot schools?
    • Different relationships, different value?
      • Produce: two way to three way
      • Milk: cooperatives versus spot purchases
      • Poultry: vertically integrated
      • Flour: undifferentiated, interchangeable
  • More to come…
    • Hypothesis: do closer relationships and better communication along supply chain result in increased value for customer?
    • If so, how do we foster these within constraints of school food service time and budget?
      • RFP?
      • Bid specs?
      • Meetings with farmers?
      • Other?
  • Stay Tuned!
  • Thank you!
    • David S. Conner, Ph.D.
    • C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems
    • Department of CARRS
    • 309 Natural Resources Bldg
    • Michigan State University
    • East Lansing MI 48823
    • Voice: 517-353-1914
    • Fax: 517 353-3834
    • Email: [email_address]
    • http://www.mottgroup.msu.edu