“Would it be possible to have Vegemite or Marmite as I use that?”: Community dwelling older people as Citizen Scientists evaluating Project Pantry Market Day

Dr Anthony Tuckett1, Dr Sharon Hetherington2, Ms Jodie  Goddard3, Professor Helen McCutcheon1, Professor Abby King4

1The University Of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia, 2Healthy Connections Exercise Clinic, Burnie Brae Ltd, Chermside, Australia, 3Community Support and Wellness Services, Burnie Brae Ltd, Chermside, Australia, 4Stanford University, Palo Alto, United States of America

Food security is fundamental to health and wellbeing of the community and is a basic human right. However, the cost and access to food for lower socioeconomic groups and individuals on welfare can be a problem. We live in a world that will need 70-100% more food by 2050 and older people are living longer than ever before. This evaluation study engaged a small sample (N=13) of older adults and individuals who were recipients of an age pension or disability support pension and attended the Burnie Brae Community Centre Project Pantry Market Day (Market Day). Market Day is a monthly initiative offering low cost staple foods and personal care items to older people on an aged pension and individuals receiving a disability support pension within the community. Using smart technology and a uniquely designed application (the Stanford Healthy Neighbourhood Discovery Tool), Project Pantry Market Day members recorded a total of 127 photographs and attendant audio narratives of features deemed to be a strength or a weakness of the Market. This then gave them a voice about what Project Pantry Market Day might look like into the future. In a facilitated process the Citizen Scientists discussed, coded and synthesised their data. The Citizen Scientists then leveraged their findings to advocate with local-decision makers for specific Market Day improvements. These changes focused on: satisfaction, accessibility and quality; the reach of Market Day and the target group; and the impact Market Day has on attitudes, behaviours and confidence. Results suggest that service providers will only deliver food that is appropriate, acceptable and nutritionally effective when they involve the views of older people and individuals in their delivery and planning.


Anthony G. Tuckett RN, MA (Applied Ethics), PhD is Director, Postgraduate Programs [Nursing, Midwifery] and Program Lead, Master of Advanced Nursing at the The University of Queensland (Australia), School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social. Anthony is currently involved in community-based co-created Citizen Science relying on: citizens as research partners; citizen volunteer contributions; human-centred design.

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