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Data Collection

There is a wide variety of publicly accessible and comprehensive food systems data sources available today. This section provides some of these secondary data sets as well as instruments to conduct primary data collection in your own community according to four specific components of the food system:

I. Production:

These measures capture a community’s ability to produce food. These data sets can also help communities collect information on the types of crops grown, demographics of local farmers and farms, relevant policies that exist, whether producers have access to a viable market, whether production is profitable and sustainable, and how local production affects a community’s economy.

The resources below include links to existing secondary data sets as well as primary data collection tools. For detailed guidance on how to use these data sets, how they can be used to complement one another, and what types of information they can provide you with to answer specific questions about your community, please read the Production Module. This document also includes many more implementation tools, including more primary data collection tools, than are listed below.

Secondary Data Sets

Colorado MarketMaker is a comprehensive interactive database of food industry marketing and business data.  Farmers, processors, wholesalers, farmers markets and food retailers are able to connect using this tool.

Fresh Produce and Meat Market Price Reports have been compiled weekly by the CSU Extension’s Boulder County Office for market pricing of fresh produce and meat for Boulder, South Pearl Denver, Drake Fort Collins, Larimer Fort Collins, Greeley, and Longmont Farmers’ Markets.  Use the reports to compare local prices to prices throughout the state.

US Census of Agriculture tables compiled by the US Department of Agriculture include information on agricultural products grown and sold by county in Colorado, demographics such as principal farmer age, farm size, and ownership.

Community Commons’ Make a Map tool contains public data that can be mapped, including some data captured by the US Census of Agriculture.

Community Commons’ Build a Report tool automatically generates reports of each area that includes a map defining the selected area and the statistics for each of the selected indicators along with additional related statistics.

The USDA Food Environment Atlas provides statistics on three broad categories of the food environment: food access, health and physical activity, and socioeconomic characteristics.  Among other production indicators, number and types of certain types of farms can be found in the atlas.

U.S. Food Market Estimator, hosted by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, can be employed by producers to estimate potential demand by county for over 200 different food products, including dairy, meat, fruit, vegetable, and grain products. Various market factors are available for selection including units, market target, and timeframe.

Primary Data Collection Tools

The NE Iowa Local Food Producer Survey was used by the Northeast Iowa Food and Farm Coalition along with a consumer survey to bridge producer/consumer information, attain a better understanding of the current Iowa local food system, and identify growing opportunities for the future.

II. Processing:

In a food system, food processing is the step of transferring food from production to consumption, through many methods including packaging, cutting, slicing, preserving, or other means of adding “value” to a crop so it can be stored, distributed, sold, and consumed. Assessing a community’s food processing capacity might include a description of local food processors, whether small producers have access to processors, whether processors support sustainability of the food system, and the degree to which the community values local processing.

The resources below include links to existing secondary data sets as well as primary data collection tools. For detailed guidance on how to use these data sets, how they can be used to complement one another, and what types of information they can provide you with to answer specific questions about your community, please read the Processing Module. This document also includes many more implementation tools, including more primary data collection tools, than are listed below.

Secondary Data Sets

Colorado MarketMaker is a comprehensive interactive database of food industry marketing and business data.  Farmers, processors, wholesalers, farmers markets and food retailers are able to connect using this tool.

The USDA Food Environment Atlas provides statistics on three broad categories of the food environment: food access, health and physical activity, and socioeconomic characteristics.  Among other processing indicators, the number and location of slaughter facilities, food hubs, and Farm to School programs can be found in the atlas.

US Census of Agriculture tables compiled by the US Department of Agriculture include information on agricultural products grown and sold by county in Colorado, demographics such as principal farmer age, farm size, and ownership.

 

Community Commons’ Make a Map tool contains public data that can be mapped, including some data captured by the US Census of Agriculture.

Community Commons’ Build a Report tool automatically generates reports of each area that includes a map defining the selected area and the statistics for each of the selected indicators along with additional related statistics.

Primary Data Collection Tools

Cool Climate Small Business Footprint Calculator allows businesses to calculate total carbon footprint for facilities, including food manufacturing, and transportation.   The calculator also compares output to similar organizations and offers recommendations to lower the carbon footprint.

Food Waste Management Cost Calculator allows individuals, organizations, or communities to compare cost estimates and environmental impacts for disposal versus recycling or reuse of food waste.

III. Distribution:

When assessing distribution in a food system, one examines what types of distributors are community based, the economic impact of local distribution, and to what degree community and political support exists for local distributors.

The resources below include links to existing secondary data sets as well as primary data collection tools. For detailed guidance on how to use these data sets, how they can be used to complement one another, and what types of information they can provide you with to answer specific questions about your community, please read the Distribution Module. This document also includes many more implementation tools, including more primary data collection tools, than are listed below.

Secondary Data Sets

Colorado MarketMaker is a comprehensive interactive database of food industry marketing and business data.  Farmers, processors, wholesalers, farmers markets and food retailers are able to connect using this tool.

The Colorado Farmers Market Association‘s website allows users to find information on farmers markets in Colorado, including hours, location, and whether they accept SNAP.

Fresh Produce and Meat Market Price Reports have been compiled weekly by the CSU Extension’s Boulder County Office for market pricing of fresh produce and meat for Boulder, South Pearl Denver, Drake Fort Collins, Larimer Fort Collins, Greeley, and Longmont Farmers’ Markets.  Use the reports to compare local prices to prices throughout the state.

Community Commons’ Make a Map tool contains public data that can be mapped, including some data captured by the US Census of Agriculture.

The USDA Food Environment Atlas provides statistics on three broad categories of the food environment: food access, health and physical activity, and socioeconomic characteristics.

US Census of Agriculture tables compiled by the US Department of Agriculture include information on agricultural products grown and sold by county in Colorado, demographics such as principal farmer age, farm size, and ownership.

Community Commons’ Build a Report tool automatically generates reports of each area that includes a map defining the selected area and the statistics for each of the selected indicators along with additional related statistics.

Primary Data Collection Tools

Cool Climate Small Business Footprint Calculator permits businesses to calculate total carbon footprint for facilities, including food manufacturing, and transportation.  The calculator also compares output to similar organizations and offers recommendations for lowering one’s carbon footprint.

IV. Access and Security:

Food access and security assessments include a variety of indicators that capture the ability of residents within a community to access and secure healthy foods on a frequent and consistent basis.  They examine the availability of food resources in the community, food security within the household, whether food is geographically accessible and affordable, and whether government policies and programs are in place to support food access.

The resources below include links to existing secondary data sets as well as primary data collection tools. For detailed guidance on how to use these data sets, how they can be used to complement one another, and what types of information they can provide you with to answer specific questions about your community, please read the Food Access and Security Module. This document also includes many more implementation tools, including more primary data collection tools, than are listed below.

Secondary Data Sets

Feeding America: Colorado Food Banks locates food banks in Colorado and provides information on the food distributed from each facility.  It also lists state statistics related to food insecurity.

County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, a tool provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, contains health rankings for each county in Colorado, using information on demographics, health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment.

Community Commons’ Make a Map tool contains public data that can be mapped, including some data captured by the US Census of Agriculture.

Community Commons’ Build a Report tool automatically generates reports of each area that includes a map defining the selected area and the statistics for each of the selected indicators along with additional related statistics.

The USDA Food Environment Atlas provides statistics on three broad categories of the food environment: Food Choices, Health and Well-Being, and Community Characteristics.  Among other access indicators, availability of fresh produce can be found in the atlas.

The USDA’s Food Access Research Atlas provides a map showing all food deserts across the country.

Primary Data Collection Tools

The LiveWell Longmont Community Food Assessment survey was distributed to community members to determine how respondents choose retailers and foods, and their attitudes toward changing access to healthy foods. Adherence to food safety measures was also assessed.

The Live Well Wheat Ridge Access to Healthy Foods Assessment included a survey from the Wheat Ridge Access to Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Task Force and LiveWell Wheat Ridge that gathered information about fresh fruit and vegetable access in the food environment, including different store types, community gardens, and farmers markets.

The Northwest Colorado Food Assessment was initiated by LiveWell Northwest in 2011 in order to inform and advance its strategic goal to increase availability and consumption of affordable fruits and vegetables in Routt County.

Colorado Food Assessments: Findings from Community-wide Surveys, a document provided by LiveWell Colorado, presents the findings of resident surveys conducted in four Colorado communities to inform community food assessments in those counties.

The Neighborhood Environment and Health Survey is a survey by the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and Gardens for Growing Healthy Communities that collected information about people’s perceptions and experiences in their neighborhood including social capital measures, gardening activities including backyard and community gardening, physical activity, general health, food and nutrition, food environment, and demographics.

The La Plata County Food Assessment, completed by the Growing Partners of Southwest Colorado, assessed food security in La Plata County. The following surveys were used to collect primary data:

The San Miguel Community Food Assessment was conducted by the New Community Coalition, and crafted surveys to gather baseline information about the production and consumption of food in the San Miguel Watershed that will be used to develop a plan for an improved food system that benefits both consumers and producers:

Healthy Communities Tool Kit Resource contains numerous data collection instruments from the Washington State Nutrition and Physical Activity Plan used for measuring access to healthy foods in stores, assessing farmers markets, and community gardens.

Food Security Survey Tools provided by the USDA Economic Research Service will allow researchers to adapt the module to their survey context, edit and code responses, and calculate household summary measures of food security for adults and youth, including a Spanish translation.

UC Davis Evaluation Tools from the University of California, Davis, Center for Advanced Study in Nutrition and Social Marketing website measure the nutrition environment in schools and child care settings.