Applying Racial Equity to U.S. Federal Nutrition Assistance Programs - Flipbook - Page 9
experts of color. Participants in programs are experts on the strengths and weaknesses of the programs. Feedback
from people who receive or have received nutrition benefits should guide research areas and topics. Some of the
topics were identified solely by listening to the perspectives of recipient experts of color. Engaging with participants
directly is an integral part of using a strengthened racial equity lens in order to empower the agency of participants,
even when qualitative or quantitative research has not yet caught up.
Stage 5: Consult with people doing this work. Often, policy recommendations are inadvertently made in siloes. Initial
consultations with experts on the issues should be made, but additional meetings with people who work with
communities that receive nutritional support, including staff who help implement nutritional programs, are critical.
When possible, learn about the racial equity work that nonprofit staff, intermediaries, and program implementers
are already doing, and look for opportunities for the anti-hunger field to apply a racial equity lens.
The Institute’s hope is to build on this method for future projects, and offer this practice as a possible pathway for other
organizations, as well as policy makers and implementers, to use as they think through how to apply a racial equity lens for
future work inside and outside of the nutrition field. For more information on how a particular organization can apply a racial
equity lens, both internally and through decision making on policy, advocacy, and implementation, please use the Racial
Equity Assessment Tool, created by the Alliance to End Hunger.7
Please review page 73 for a more detailed outline of questions that organizations can use to apply a racial equity lens in their policies.
In concert with the racial equity methodology described above, a variety of quantitative and qualitative research tools were
used to develop this report:
• Racial Equity Lens Methodology Questions Guide (see page 73)
• Raw and computed data from the Economic Research Service (ERS), the U.S. Census Bureau (including the American
Community Survey), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This data was helpful in understanding the scope
and trends of each program.
• Multiple scholarly research studies on each program, which helped identify and understand data gaps and the impact of
SNAP, WIC, and Child Nutrition programs.
• An initial brainstorming session with anti-hunger service providers, advocacy and research organizations, and field experts.
This helped narrow the scope of research early in the process as well as flag areas where in-depth research was needed.
• A series of meetings with service providers, researchers, community members, and program implementers, including one
group interview with an Indigenous service provider team. This qualitative data collection was helpful in understanding
each program’s implementation, constraints, and opportunities for growth, and in identifying what support might be
needed to implement the report’s recommendations.
• Six individual interviews and one focus group with African American and Indigenous nutrition program participants, located
in states and tribal lands across the nation. This qualitative data collection took place both before writing and researching, and
before finalizing the recommendations. The conversations highlighted the points of equity and inequity in each program in
order to better formulate recommendations. Interviewees were given a copy of the recommendations for comment.
• Research, feedback, and one-on-one conversations with Latino/a, Indigenous, and African American experts in the
nutrition field, including individuals associated with the National First Food Racial Equity Cohort, Health Connect One,
the Oregon Inter-Tribal Breastfeeding Coalition, the Native American Nutrition Conference, and the Race Forward
Conference. This was helpful in strengthening the initial recommendations and framing additional recommendations,
ensuring that both were informed by existing work on racial equity and nutrition.
• Two site visits were conducted. The first was at Mary’s Center (a multi-service provider in Washington, DC, that administers
WIC and supports SNAP recipients). The second was at a grocery store, where researchers walked through a typical
shopping experience for WIC and SNAP participants. These two visits provided a quick glimpse of how WIC and SNAP
operate on the ground for recipients. For more on Mary’s Center, see Appendix 20.
• A formal consultation with anti-hunger service providers, advocacy and research organizations, and field experts. This
helped strengthen the initial research and recommendations. This group provided follow-up support as recommendations
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