Focus Research Goals And Methods


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Focus Research Goals And Methods

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