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Purdue agricultural economics research to measure local food access within Anderson community

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University’s Department of Agricultural Economics is measuring access to local food in Anderson, Indiana through a collaboration with the Madison County Local Food Network (MCLFN).

Purdue Agricultural Economics intends to assess how locally grown food sources in Madison County can meet the needs of low-income consumers. Undergraduate research student Claire Baney will lead the project with MCLFN and Michael Wilcox, program leader of Purdue Extension’s Community Development Program.

The study seeks to identify the specific needs and consumer demands of economically disadvantaged households struggling with food insecurity — a community in which buying power is often overlooked in the marketplace. The research team has collaborated with Anderson food pantries and community services offices to hear directly from this group. The study’s results will be shared publicly to expand community food justice work and educate local producers on how their products can be more accessible.

“This study will provide needed information into identifying gaps in the local food system. It will help identify and meet food access needs of individuals and families, increase potential quality data to help increase potential funding coming into Madison County and more,” says Chelsie Jaramillo, community wellness coordinator at Purdue Extension-Madison County.

The research team is committed to identifying better ways to expand food access.

“Across the U.S., disparities in socioeconomic status preclude people from accessing nutritious food that’s healthy for them, the environment and local economies,” said Baney, who is completing this project as an honors thesis. “Our task is to understand how we can remove barriers to food security in mutually beneficial ways that improve the livelihoods of farmers, farmworkers and food insecure communities alike.”

The survey will be open through March 4. Study participants can take the online survey at or complete a paper survey by visiting participating locations within Anderson. Additionally, a focus group will be offered 5:30-7:00 p.m. ET March 1 via Zoom for residents of Anderson who may struggle with food security and/or be a member of a low-income household. A focus group will be held on March 3 from  6-7:30 p.m. for community social services partners (such as food pantries, etc.) and local food producers.

Residents can register for the online focus group at For questions on how to participate as a survey responder or focus group contributor, contact Claire Baney at

About Madison County Local Food Network

Madison County Local Food Network is a nonprofit in Indiana with the mission to create a more vibrant community that provides equitable access to affordable and nutritious foods to all Madison County residents. For more information about MCLFN and how to get involved, visit

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