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Research methods

Our primary research question was: how do, can and should communities create more sustainable, equitable and food secure communities? Our secondary one was: what are means for creating more equitable community-university collaborations in research, action and education?

We learned about both by doing. For the first question, we relied upon the collective decades of expertise and experience the five community-based organizations (CBOs) brought to the table. Also, we traced the work of the CBOs and how each invested its sub-award from Food Dignity over the five years of our collaboration (Woodsum 2018; Porter 2018). For the second, we learned via striving for such relations in our own collaborations.

We primarily used multiple case study research methods to document and learn from actions (Porter 2018), including developing a collaborative version of pathway modelling (Hargraves & Denning 2018). The work of the CBOs was our primary unit of analysis in the first question. Our collaboration itself was the focal point for analysis in the second question.

In addition, we examined the minigrant programs each CBO developed (Hargraves 2018) and conducted some quantitative agroecological research (see, e.g., Conk & Porter 2016; Gregory, Leslie & Drinkwater 2016).  


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