Participatory Action Research (PAR) is a process of working collaboratively with those most involved or impacted by the issue. At FoodARC, we work with individuals, community organizations, government representatives, and university-based researchers to gather information and act to improve food security. Everyone involved in the research process is valued and respected, bringing their respective strengths, experiences, and perspectives. In a truly participatory research project, everyone has a say in the direction, activities, and evaluation of the project – sharing power and responsibility.
Simply put, our research on food security is for the people, by the people.
Valuing everyone’s strengths and ensuring that all voices are heard results in a unique capacity-building approach. Working together allows us to engage with collaborators from various backgrounds, perspectives and disciplines, including community members, practitioners, and producers. Through participatory action research, the conditions are created to support innovation and change around issues of food security.
Benefits of Participatory Action Research
We carry out participatory action research so that decision-makers in government, businesses, organizations, and local communities have a better understanding of food security within the provincial, national and global context. We focus on participatory action research, because it allows us to take action, while better understanding the issues. It also allows communities to have an influence on the development of the policies that affect their lives; researchers and community members need strong evidence in order to advocate for food security, and through participatory action research, they can produce that evidence.
Relationships are the foundation of participatory action research, and we have built a strong network of community groups, government organizations and universities across Canada and the world.
FoodARC partners has been involved in participatory action research projects about food security for over a decade. To learn more, please visit our Projects section or see our working paper on Community Learning and Development in Participatory Action Research.