February 22, 2019

The importance of systems thinking, context, and inclusion when studying the feasibility of expanding the FoodShare (SNAP) outreach program to rural communities of Northern Wisconsin

By Miguel Valdez Soto

Abstract

Evaluators often neglect to question whether a program has been appropriately designed for a new context prior to a feasibility study’s commencement. In this paper, we document the results of a case study that closely examined context when determining the feasibility of implementing a FoodShare outreach program in rural northern Wisconsin. Using community-based participatory mixed methods, we examine how stakeholder engagement led to both study refinement and a more comprehensive understanding of community food security based on contextual factors and systems thinking. Lessons learned when conducting feasibility studies from this perspective are provided to improve evaluation practice.

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