We at People’s Kitchen Detroit officially released our first Community Feedback survey on April 1, 2012. The survey was available online and in a hard copy form at all of our events through May 11, the day of our first open house and community discussion. Over that time, we were honored to collect 113 responses from community members interested in our programs! Thank you so much to those of you who responded; we can’t tell you how much we appreciate your suggestions.
We released the survey in part because our vision (“co-creating a safe, respectful and inclusive space where Detroiters can access affordable healthy local and bulk foods, learn and share empowering skills to plan and prepare healthy meals, holistically manage and prevent disease, and preserve local harvests while building community strength through food security, activism and a deeper connection to the Earth”) is huge, and it can be hard for us to know where to begin, and how to proceed appropriately, with such ambitions! We have plenty of ideas, but we wanted to use the survey as one way to get some guidance about what folks want and need before we jumped right into presenting the kinds of programs we were envisioning.
The survey was divided into three sections: Eating Habits, Skill-Shares and Cook-Shares, and Commercial Kitchen Use. Over the next couple weeks, I’ll be sharing some of the most interesting questions and responses from each section, as well as a bit about how we intend to put the information we gathered to use.
Before we delve in, I want to state up-front that there is nothing at all scientific about this survey. The results are relevant to us, and useful for our purposes, because they tell us a little bit about the folks who came to our events and others at the Commons, checked out our Facebook page, or perhaps were urged by a friend to participate, during a relatively narrow timeframe. Importantly, they also help to give us an idea of who we aren’t reaching. What these survey results absolutely do not do is paint an accurate picture of Detroiters in general — so please don’t try to use them as if they did!
Issuing this survey was a great learning process for us as an organization. Speaking personally, I hope we’ll continue to use tools to like this to hear from the folks we’re connected with — but I also understand that survey responses merely scratch the surface, and I look forward to connecting on a much deeper level as we grow and share with folks at events, in the garden, through this blog, and otherwise.