Rural store owners must be aware of shifts and changes in the customer base they serve. The tools in this section are a compilation of documents, resources, and connections to data resources to help store owners better understand their clientele and their needs.
FEAST Planning Manual
One of the most accurate ways to learn about the food needs of a community is to ask! Developed by the Oregon Food Bank, the Community FEAST (Food, Education, Agriculture, Solutions, Together) guide provides a model for facilitated community conversations to support the development of strategies for improving local food options. FEAST dialogues may identify the need for locally produced goods, seasonal gaps in types of food, cultural food needs, or access and availability issues. FEAST dialogue facilitators can be contacted through the KSU Center for Engagement and Community Development at firstname.lastname@example.org
FEAST Tool Kit
These detailed planning and organizational documents were created by the Kansas Rural Center to support a facilitated community conversation on food access.
The United State Department of Agriculture hosts a dataset that identifies distances to food outlets. Food deserts are geographic areas where affordable and healthy food is difficult to obtain, particularly for those without access to an automobile. This website provides maps and data on food access that will help determine current food access in your community.
American Community Survey
The American Community Survey is a tool from the U.S. Census Bureau that provides reports and locally specific compilations of the census data. This information source can be of assistance in understanding the demographics of your customer base. This page link; Which Data Tool Should I Use? has relevant information under “Market Analyst” and “Business Owner."
This tool, created by Dan Kahl, Paul Clark and Leah Tsoodle, is an example of a simple survey a store owner might use to gather feedback from existing customers. The tool is in Word so that store owners can edit it for use.
State Initiatives Supporting Healthier Food Retail: An Overview of the National Landscape
Produced by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, this document provides public health practitioners, their partners, and policy makers with useful information about the rationale for and characteristics of healthier food retail legislation enacted in the last decade. Action steps that public health practitioners can use to support Healthier Food Retail (HFR) initiatives in their state are provided, as well as legislative data and other resources.
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