Assisting in Investigating Food Insecurity in Ohio (FORC)

The Food Opportunity Research Collaborative (FORC) utilizes a Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach to understanding how the lived experience of food insecurity differs by community type (urban, suburban, or rural), the level of food security, and race and ethnicity. Utilizing a participatory mapping technique known as Healthy Eating and Active Living Mapping Attributes using Participatory Photographic Surveys (HEAL MAPPS), community researchers identify barriers and supports to healthy food access by taking pictures of them and tracking a route through their neighborhood. These maps and pictures are then used to seed community conversations about healthy food access in the community.

During these community conversations, World Café techniques are utilized to generate community solutions to the barriers to healthy food access identified through the mapping process. The lived experience of food insecurity in the community is then recorded in a story map and report, that are disseminated throughout the community. A task force is then developed to address these issues by implementing policy solutions to one or more of the barriers.

FORC just finished working in West Chester, Ohio, a suburban community located in Butler County. You can access the West Chester story map by clicking here. FORC is currently preparing to work on the South Side of Columbus. Results from this study are expected in October of 2017.

You can access our page on Food-Mapping for Empowerment, Access and Sustainable Transformation (FEAST) by clicking here.


The Food Opportunity Research Collaborative is an interdisciplinary research team made up of representatives from nine Ohio State departments or units including The Kirwan Institute, OSU Extension Franklin and Pike Counties, The Glenn College of Public Affairs, The Department of City and Regional Planning, The College of Social Work, The Department of Human Ecology, The Department of Medical Dietetics, and the Department of Comparative Studies.

The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity was established in 2003 as a center for interdisciplinary research at The Ohio State University. The Kirwan Institute works to create a just and inclusive society where all people and communities have opportunity to succeed.