Capacity Building with Network Assessment with WA State Gleaning Network

22 Dec 2023, by Admin in Development

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Capacity Building with Network Assessment with WA State Gleaning Network

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In 2023, the Association of Gleaning Organizations began a pilot project in Washington state with the goal of creating a supportive network for local gleaning organizations. Between February and September 2023, a network assessment was conducted to gauge the needs of gleaners within Washignton state. A set of standardized questions were asked to more than 80 participants and that information was recorded in a database of information that includes narrative text, videos, and audio.

When possible, these interviews were recorded verbatim in a spreadsheet format and with video or audio for analysis purposes. A total of 36 organizations participated in these interviews and the remaining interviews were done with these organizations’ partners, farmers, and volunteers. Responses were then analyzed using thematic and narrative qualitative analysis methods to gain an understanding of the roles, responsibilities, strengths and barriers of gleaning organizations within Washington state. Discussions from monthly meetings were incorporated, in addition to the data from oral interviews, to determine some recommendations on how the future of a gleaning network in Washington state might look. Answers to these questions were organized into a spreadsheet for analysis and finally into a full library of narratives and one-page biographies was created for each organization individually. These documents were reviewed by each organization for accuracy and then published as a shared resource on Google Drive that can be accessed by anyone with the link.

It’s the first year of the project so there aren’t a lot of solid structures yet, but some deliverables which allow for greater connection and collaboration during the project building phase include: a website, a monthly newsletter, collaboration emails, and monthly meetings. The website for the network project contains information about the grant used to develop the project, bios of the team members who are facilitating it, recordings and synopsis from each monthly meeting as well as a space to share resources like funding, advocacy and gleaning best practices. The newsletter and collaboration emails act as regular communication to keep members informed and engaged. And the monthly meetings are in place to provide training on gleaner related topics and act as a place for live discussions on network structure topics.

A final piece for deliverables for this first-year project are two reports. One is a formal report on the network assessment process and the other is a report on the process involved throughout the first year. Both are vital pieces of information to be shared not only with the members of the network but also with partners, funders and the broader community. All of these deliverables are important pieces of the project not only because they provide material for the structure of the network, but also are an undercurrent of activity that keeps members engaged and helps the network consistently meet its goals.