Documenting the impact of the Grow and Give Program on community health and wellbeing.

Mountain Region



Primary Topic:

Health and Well-Being

Other Topics:

Food and Agriculture

Lead Mentor:  

Denyse Schrenker

Extension County Specialist, Horticulture & Small Acreage Management

Internship Overview:

The intern will develop new knowledge concerning the experiences of participants in the Grow & Give program and the impact that participation has on hunger relief organizations and people experiencing food insecurity.

Grow & Give is an Extension program that was launched in 2020 to help communities respond to food insecurity during the pandemic by creating a connection between backyard gardens and those experiencing food insecurity. Now in its fourth year, Grow & Give has increased people’s access to nutritious fruits and vegetables in counties throughout Colorado. Less well documented are the individual and community-wide benefits of the act of giving and increasing social connectedness that is at the core of Grow & Give program.

To understand the impact the Grow & Give program has on the health and wellbeing of participants, hunger relief organizations and individuals receiving fresh produce, the intern will collect data and stories through interviews, surveys and other data collection tools. Building from the 2022 Extension internship, the information will be synthesized into narratives that describe the program’s impact through reports, newsletters and social media. The information will also be analyzed by CSU staff to identify key areas of impact, such as mental health, food security, and social connectedness, that can be a focus of further scholarly study about the impact of the Grow & Give program.

Applicants to this internship should have interest in developing qualitative research skills and ability to be conversant in English and Spanish is preferred but not required.

Goals, Scope and Objectives:

The goal of this internship is to increase the knowledge about the impact of the Grow & Give program. We can quantitatively measure how the program has increased the availability of fresh food for people experiencing food insecurity. However, through previous interviews and surveys, we believe the program is also impacting the health and wellbeing of participants and the broader community. This internship will increase our capacity to understand and measure those impacts.

In a combination of working remotely with Grow & Give team members and in person with community members, the intern will do the following activities:
– Collect quantitative and qualitative data from Grow & Give gardeners, hunger relief organizations and people experiencing food insecurity;
– Document the experiences of those participating in and impacted by Grow & Give through long and short-form narratives shared through reports, newsletters and social media;
– Develop data collection tools, primarily in Qualtrics, to better capture information on who is being impacted by the Grow & Give program; and
– Develop tools to improve communication between garden participants and hunger relief organizations;

With which stakeholder group(s) will the intern work?

Key stakeholders include: Gardeners, local hunger relief organizations, clients of hunger relief organizations, CSU Communications, CSU Online, local county Extension Offices across the state. 

What student learning outcomes do you anticipate and what are the opportunities for professional development?

The intern will: (1) learn methods to evaluate the impact of a community-engaged program with diverse stakeholder groups; (2) develop data management and collection tools (Qualtrics, Excel); (3) obtain experience in collecting quantitative and qualitative information from community-based organizations to be used for program evaluation; (4) develop key communication skills around narrative-based interventions by creating and distributing engaging narratives, including determining target audience, communication goal, and appropriate channel(s); and (5) learn the roles of faculty, staff, and Extension Agents in developing, implementing, and evaluating statewide programming. 
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