W. K. Kellogg Foundation Support Lyson Center's effort to Transform JAFSCD into more Impactful Publication

Since its launch in 2010, the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development has been producing cutting-edge, research-based content informing the work of researchers and practitioners on the forefront of the good food movement. Applied research published in JAFSCD supports the work of nutritionists, community organizers, Extension Educators, nonprofit staff, and local officials who work with families in communities of need and who create policies and programs affecting them.

Two recent developments challenged us to rethink our role. The first was the overwhelming response to our special, open-access issue on race and ethnicity in food systems work (summer 2015). The second was an internal review of our stakeholders (readers, authors, reviewers) that showed they are mostly “coastal” and privileged. These encouraged us to commit to transforming JAFSCD into the world’s first Open Access (OA) Community Supported Journal, removing financial barriers to our content. An additional goal is to be fully embraced and recognized as a key resource by researchers and practitioners of color, especially in the southeast U.S., borderlands, Appalachia, and tribal areas. Our OA, Outreach, and Impact Program will reach and cultivate researchers and practitioners in communities of color with the most pernicious and intractable poverty. We will accomplish this through a volunteer mentoring program to build capacity of authors from these communities and concerted efforts to publicize and share JAFSCD content at the front lines of the food movement. We will measure how much JAFSCD content reaches these communities, and will report measureable impact. We expect that supporting the capacity of the professionals who are working in communities with vulnerable children will improve their health and well-being through improved access to good food at home and in schools.

By restructuring JAFSCD to become the world’s first community supported (subscription-free) applied research journal on food systems and by launching our outreach and impact program, we will achieve the qualitative and quantitative outcomes outlined below. Outcomes will be evidenced by quantitative metrics of social networking penetration (Altmetrics), and by changes from a “baseline survey” conducted in early 2017 to the first “impact survey” to be repeated in late 2018. The survey will be conducted annually for the first couple of years, and later every two years, with the goal of continuing to expand these outcomes well into the future.

With W.K. Kellogg Foundation Support We Expect to Have the Following Impacts: 

1) Qualitative outcomes:

(1) A greater perceived sense of ownership of JAFSCD by authors and readers of color; (2) Recognition that JAFSCD is focused more on wicked problems in good food work, and less on slow food, foodie issues, and other aspects of food systems that are largely perceived as the interests of the privileged; (3) Recognition that JAFSCD is the go-to publication for practical research on best practices in good food work; and (4) Greater appreciation that JAFSCD is accessible to a broad range of readers, and is not an academic publication.

2) Quantitative outcomes of WKKF-funded activities:

(a) Increase from our 2017 baseline the proportion of JAFSCD stakeholders (readers, authors, reviewers, and advisors) by the end of 2018 who report being people of color to reflect the actual demographics of the U.S. (36.3%).

(b) Increase from our baseline the number of stakeholders by a minimum of 25% who report working in target areas of high poverty and food insecurity, including counties with large proportions of African Americans in the Southeast; Appalachia; the Texas borderlands with large proportions of Hispanics/Latinos; and Native American tribal areas of the Midwest and Plains.

(c) Increase from our baseline the number of stakeholders by 25% who report they are applying best practices, strategies, and techniques learned by reading JAFSCD’s content (e.g., research papers, briefs, columns, and editorials).

(d) Annually increase by 25% the number of stakeholders who report they are engaged in collaborations between communities of need and institutions of higher learning, thus leading to the extension of local knowledge and experience into land-grant institutions.

(e) Replacement of 100% of our subscription and license income ($60,000) with at least 50 institutional shares by the end of 2017.

(f) Annually increase by 10% the number of stakeholders who are associated with HBCUs, Hispanic-serving colleges, and tribal colleges in our target areas.