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Evaluation of Seed Change in Native Communities Project

Our approach to this process and outcome evaluation project will be to bring together the principles of equitable evaluation, as articulated in the Equitable Evaluation Framework, shared farm to school metrics, based on Evaluation for Transformation: Cross Sectoral Evaluation Framework for Farm to School and NFSN’s Programs and Policy Racial and Social Equity Assessment Tool, and the goals and priorities of each of the three focus communities. We will concentrate attention and resources on areas with the greatest overlap between these three framing elements while simultaneously ensuring that all three framing elements are represented in the evaluation design. We anticipate that the evaluation plan will include two components - one that is shared across all three communities and one that is specific to each community. We will execute this project in four phases as follows. The first phase of the evaluation will involve learning more about the program and listening to the goals and needs of each of the focus communities in order to develop a more detailed evaluation plan. As part of program discovery, we will review documents related to FASLP, the Seed Change projects in Montana, Maine and Hawai’i, and the Native Communities Program team to build our depth of understanding. We will also convene listening and planning meetings with each community to learn more about their projects and priorities and to engage them in setting the direction and design of the evaluation. The second phase of the evaluation will focus on data collection. We will meet again with stakeholders in each of the three communities to refine data collection methodologies. At minimum, data collection will include surveys and semi-structured interviews. Depending on the priorities identified, this phase may also include focus groups, Most Significant Change, Ripple Effect Mapping, or other participatory methodologies. Wherever possible, we will partner with farm to school practitioners in the focus communities to collect the data as a way to build evaluation capacity, ensure cultural relevance, and foster participant ownership. The third phase of the evaluation will consist of analyzing the data, collaboratively interpreting findings, and developing the final evaluation report. We will conduct univariate descriptive analyses of survey findings as well as inferential analyses if warranted. We will conduct inductive qualitative analysis of interview data to elicit key themes and rich descriptions. In this phase, we will convene a third meeting with practitioners and stakeholders in each of the focus communities in order to co-interpret the data and co-develop recommendations or actionable strategies. The final evaluation report will describe the evaluation process, summarize all results, and synthesize findings to offer a narrative assessment of the Seed Change project. In the fourth and final phase, we will work to support the use and application of the evaluation findings among a broad range of stakeholders, including, first and foremost, the stakeholders in the three focus communities. This dissemination phase could include, for example, developing infographics, hosting webinars, or convening storytelling events.

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