Shared voices, different worlds: Process and product in the Food Dignity action research project

Christine M. Porter, Hank Herrera, Daryl Marshall, Gayle M. Woodsum


Abstract

Diversity of perspective makes for greater depth when painting a portrait of community life. But embracing the idea of representing true diversity in a formal research project is a whole lot easier than putting it into practice. The three dozen members of the Food Dignity action research team, now entering the fourth year of a five-year project, are intimately familiar with this challenge. In this article, four of the collaborators explore the intricacies of navigating what it means to bring together a genuine cross-section of community-based activists and academics in an effort to draw on one another’s professional and personal strengths to collect and disseminate research findings that represent the truth of a community’s experiences, and are ultimately disseminated in a way that brings tangible benefit to the heart and soul of that community. The authors include Food Dignity’s principal investigator (Porter) and three community organisers (Marshall, Herrera and Woodsum) in organisations that have partnered with Food Dignity. Two of the organisers (Herrera and Woodsum) also serve project-wide roles. These collaborators share their personal and professional hopes, struggles, concerns, successes and failures as participants in this cutting-edge effort to equalise community and university partnerships in research. Keywords: community-based participatory research (CBPR), food justice, equitable community-campus partnerships, food sovereignty, case study, action research

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