Before we design and plant a new farm project, we always commit the time and resources to conduct community engagement research.
The purpose of this research is to gather data and insights from a diverse group of community stakeholders. This learning helps inform Citizen D’s approach and programming in two important ways. First, it helps us to align our planned offerings with what our neighbors want to see, experience, and support in their community. And, it gives us new ideas about what the farm could and should be.
A team of trained cultural anthropologists lead our research projects. These collaborators work to ensure that we gather insights broadly and deeply throughout the community, rather than just scratching the surface or reaching the most visible or vocal constituencies. Inclusiveness is one of our primary values, and we strive to achieve a multi-faceted understanding of the dynamics in a community.
Our methodologies include demographic data analysis, ethnographic observation, informal interviews with community members, structured discussion groups, and in-home interviews.
Through these methods we cover topics related to the following themes: 1) attitudes and beliefs about community, environment, health, and food, 2) residents’ “foodways,” meaning their attitudes and behaviors when it comes to buying, preparing, growing, and interacting with food, 3) reactions to the concept of a neighborhood farm, and 4) residents’ input about how a farm could best serve their community.
Research projects typically take between 6-8 weeks to complete, from inception to analysis and integration of key findings. Our team uses the data to inform the planning stages of the farm, ultimately ensuring that our site design is both comprehensive and inclusive.
We are currently in the early stages of conducting research in Far East Dallas.