My farm knowledge, and my skills with information management were a perfect match for the Knoxville Regional Foodshed Assessment. I collaborated with a professor and an undergraduate student to collect information on local foods that would not be tracked by traditional economic models. I assisted with editing the final project. I supplied the primary investigator with research and data from other regions of local foodshed assessments. Additionally, I found specific research in support of methods to increase local economic benefit, like mobile slaughterhouses.
I was involved in the project from initiation, and it gave me the opportunity to work with a team in a real-world situation to produce a viable product. This project also showcased the benefit of including an information professional to shape the data collection instruments, alleviating challenges before they negatively impact a project. I created bridges between information and my team.
I initiated contact with the primary investigator of the foodshed assessment. At the conclusion of the project the Knoxville Regional Foodshed Assessment measured the current food production of Knox County and the surrounding 10 counties, for a snapshot in time of the production. In addition to making some projections of future productivity, the assessment also identified some barriers to production, like gaps in infrastructure for locally slaughtered meat.
The draft report is here, with the official publication date set for late March or early April.