Alongside the partner organizations, the project will work to strengthen Tucson’s urban agriculture network to coordinate efforts related to improving food production among low-income and special needs populations. As a means of collectively determining what types of information would be valuable to each of the community partners, partner and stakeholder meetings will serve as a gathering space to discuss and identify gaps in the availability and distribution of resources for Tucson gardeners.
Furthermore, one of the outcomes of the project will be to map collaborative relationships among local organizations, agencies and gardeners. Questions on knowledge flows along various “networks” have been included within the surveys and interviews to spatially and qualitatively assess social linkages. Understanding the existing connectivity between community and backyard gardeners as well as gardeners and organizations will help determine how to effectively strengthen relationships within the urban agriculture network in Tucson.
2016 Stakeholder Meetings
In October, the principal investigators of the “Greening the Food Deserts of Tucson, Arizona” project, Stephanie Buechler and Daoqin Tong, hosted a stakeholder meeting at the University of Arizona. The format of the meeting centered on fostering partnerships through participatory discussions. Topics covered included:
- Sharing of organizations’ challenges and needs in their efforts to address food insecurity among low-income populations through urban food production;
- Identifying potential partnerships for collaborative work on urban food production, access and security;
- Discussing mechanisms to fulfill policy needs for the expanding civil society network surrounding environmental sustainability and urban food production.
Participants included: Arizona Serve, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum’s Pollinator Project, Compass Affordable Housing, Community Gardens of Tucson, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Desert Harvesters, International Refugee Committee, Pima County’s Office of Conservation and Sustainable Development, Tank’s Green Stuff, Tucson Village Farm, University of Arizona Nutrition Network, University of Arizona Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, and YWCA of Southern Arizona
2017 Stakeholder Meeting
In May 2017, the research team held a second stakeholder meeting that:
- Provided participants with an overview of the research findings, as well as an update on project initiatives that improve garden accessibility and sustainability;
- Facilitated conversations on issues examind throughout the project by having breakout group discussions;
- Encouraged participant networking by identifying existing linkages and fostering new collaborations;
- Selected topics to cover in the project's policy brief; and
- Discussed future areas of potential collaboration among the university and nonprofit organizations that emphasize food production, access and security in Tucson, Arizona.
Participants included representatives from the Community Food Bank, Community Gardens of Tucson, Compass Affordable Housing, IRC, Feeding Tucson, the City Clerks Office, University of Arizona Nutiriton Network, Pima County Seed Library, and the City of Tucson.