What We Bring to the Table : Exploring Community Food Access and Experience

photovoice participant takes a photo of produce at a pantry

On September 15th, 2022 we held an exhibition of these photos and captions at the Martin Luther King, Jr. branch of the Cleveland Public Library. This is a digital extension of that exhibition. 

Study participants (all Cleveland residents) were asked to reflect on things that they were proud of and things that demanded change in their food environments and communities. Their resultant images and words contribute to community discourse surrounding health, equity, and nutrition.
 

Photovoice is a participatory method, defined as a “process by which people can identify, represent and enhance their community through a specific photographic technique” (Wang and Burris 1997, p. 369).

Photovoice has three main goals;

  • to document and reflect on the strengths and gaps within a community,
  • to enhance critical discussion and knowledge sharing about community concerns,
  • to share community issues with policymakers.

During this process, participants reflect on a guiding question or prompt using photography.

In this study, 6 participants from Cleveland were asked to take pictures of things they were proud of and things that needed to change in their household food access and environment. The following questions guided the photo discussions with each participant;

  • What do you see in this photo? What is happening?
  • Where was this photo taken?
  • Why did you take this photo?
  • What does this photo tell us about your life and life in your community?
  • Why are things this way?
  • Does this photo represent something you're proud of or something that needs to change? What can be done to support or change this?
Photovoice participant captures image of high sugar content juice
Unhealthy items: Only 4 grams of sugar is healthy. These are 28 grams or higher

‘[T]his is the juice that comes in our [food] boxes bimonthly... I’m a two-time cancer survivor, so I have to watch a lot of things that are not good for my health... seniors are grateful to get items that they can’t afford to buy, but it’s redundant that they have to eat or drink unhealthy items because they’re free.’ (F, Black)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘They’re asking you at the checkout counter, “Paper or plastic?” What’s the point of asking that when these

Photovoice participant captures images of single use plastic products in the grocery

people probably still have the big bottles of plastic in their cart...it’s gonna continue to have a negative impact on the community because these plastic bottles are never gonna be recycled.’ (F, Black)

Photovoice participant captures image of high sugar content juice
Unhealthy items: Only 4 grams of sugar is healthy. These are 28 grams or higher
‘[T]his is the juice that comes in our [food] boxes bimonthly... I’m a two-time cancer survivor, so I have to watch a lot of things that are not good for my health... seniors are grateful to get items that they can’t afford to buy, but it’s redundant that they have to eat or drink unhealthy items because they’re free.’ (F, Black)
Photovoice participant captures images of single use plastic products in the grocery
‘They’re asking you at the checkout counter, “Paper or plastic?” What’s the point of asking that when these people probably still have the big bottles of plastic in their cart...it’s gonna continue to have a negative impact on the community because these plastic bottles are never gonna be recycled.’ (F, Black)

 

Only 4 grams of sugar is healthy. These are 28 grams or higher
Photovoice participant captures image of high sugar content juice
Unhealthy items: Only 4 grams of sugar is healthy. These are 28 grams or higher

‘[T]his is the juice that comes in our [food] boxes bimonthly... I’m a two-time cancer survivor, so I have to watch a lot of things that are not good for my health... seniors are grateful to get items that they can’t afford to buy, but it’s redundant that they have to eat or drink unhealthy items because they’re free.’ (F, Black)

Plastics that are not good for the environment
Photovoice participant captures images of single use plastic products in the grocery

‘They’re asking you at the checkout counter, “Paper or plastic?” What’s the point of asking that when these people probably still have the big bottles of plastic in their cart...it’s gonna continue to have a negative impact on the community because these plastic bottles are never gonna be recycled.’ (F, Black)