Community Food Assessments and Story Maps: Dickinson College, through a Mellon Foundation Grant for Civic Engagement, funded Bedi’s proposal for a Civic Engagement Curricular Development Project on ‘Food, Poverty, and Place.’ The 2018 course examined race, food access, and poverty concerns in Central Pennsylvania. Working closely with community partners, students in the class conducted qualitative research and completed a county food assessment to document food, agricultural, and social vulnerabilities. Using GIS tools, students created an online story map to communicate the learning from the report. They shared their results during a roundtable event with community members. Course Hero profiled the class in their ‘best lessons’ series available here.
Funding Fresh Match: Students in Bedi’s 2016 and 2017 Environment & Society classes engaged in community service learning with the Carlisle Farmers on the Square. As a way to make fresh food more accessible for people living below the federal poverty line, the farmers market offers Fresh Match, a program that allows food benefit recipients to double the value of their benefits when shopping at the market. Facing a lack of funds, Bedi worked with the market to develop a project that would allow students to gain the tangible skill of proposal writing, while supporting this vital program. The 2016 and 2017 student proposals yielded a total of $4,000 in foundation grants to support Fresh Match.
Communicating Fresh Match: Farmers on the Square and Bedi developed a new community service learning poster project in 2017 for student groups to communicate the Fresh Match program to potential recipients and the broader Farmers on the Square community. The student created posters (in English and Spanish- see above) are used as the primary fliers for the program, and are on display at the market and state offices providing services for food benefit recipients.