UCARE Summer Highlights: Food Systems and Community-Based Research
I’m Emily Reeve, a sophomore at Ursinus and a member of Scholars in Service. This summer I had fun interning at a non–profit organization rooted in Philadelphia called The Food Trust. This non-profit takes a multifaceted approach to solving issues related to healthy food access in communities all across the nation. Their mission is to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, nutritious food and information to make healthy decisions. I had the wonderful opportunity to work alongside 11 other interns and The Food Trust’s Research and Evaluation team as Summer Research Institute Fellows. During my 8-week internship this summer, my research team and I observed and collected data in a low-income neighborhood, Kensington, Philadelphia about healthy food access. Two other neighborhoods of study included Fairhill and Haddington, Philadelphia. We administered surveys outside of corner stores, conducted photo-observations about the community, and had the opportunity to interview residents about their opinions of healthy food access in their neighborhood. The data we collected will be used as a baseline to conduct further research to better the communities.
It is easy to stigmatize a neighborhood like Kensington, but after spending a majority of my summer in this community, I got to know some residents/store owners on a different level. Kensington has its problems like any community at its surface, but after uncovering the mask you will find a friendly and vibrant community that wants to adopt healthy lifestyles. Because of low accessibility and affordability, this community struggles to have the opportunity to make healthy decisions.
At the end of the internship, my team and I presented a 30 minute oral presentation including pictures, residents’ quotes, and quantitative data from surveys about our community of study, Kensington. We presented in front the Research and Evaluation team as well as any other members of The Food Trust team that wanted to see our presentations. Overall, I had the best summer working for this warm and welcoming non-profit. The work The Food Trust does really makes an impact in bettering the lives of people all around the nation (and world).
This internship opened my eyes to the real struggles people in poverty-stricken areas face on a daily basis. These issues become less of a statistic and more of a reality when you meet people rather than just hearing numbers. The work I have done this summer increased my passion for service and justice that I can use to help better the community of Montgomery County surrounding Ursinus.