BC Ministry of Health
Produce Availability Initiative – Process and Outcome Evaluation

There’s “doing”. And then there’s gauging how well you did.

When Context was contracted by the BC Ministry of Health to plan and manage its program to improve the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables in remote communities, one of the critical components of our work was evaluating the results of our plan, and the process we took to get there.



Launched in 2009, the BC Government’s Produce Availability in Remote Communities Initiative was a groundbreaking program, important for the sheer scope of its various project components. With a level of comprehensiveness never before seen anywhere in the world, it was important for us to document our learning around planning and implementing a project of this scope. This assessment would, among other things, help other jurisdictions and governments to enact similar programs to serve their communities.  

In the course of working on the various projects within this initiative, we conducted evaluations to measure the impact and outcome of the work we were doing – evaluating not only the results achieved, but the process itself. By taking a community-based approach to evaluation – working with and directly in the communities – we sought to understand what concrete changes came about because of these projects, and what community members perceived as the benefits to their communities as a result.

We wanted to balance the quantitative and qualitative data in this evaluation, to uncover both the measurable changes and the more intangible community perspective. The best way to understand these community-based projects was to visit the faraway places, see the projects in action and hear what people had to say about what changed in their communities. With our evaluation and consultation expertise, we were able to work with the communities to encourage participation in evaluation.
  • Watch It
    We used video and storytelling to help remote community members tell us about their successes and challenges in growing and bringing more fresh fruits and vegetables to their communities.
  • "Sometimes, what you expect to be the benefit is not what the community perceives it to be. More than just having access to fresh food, community members said that it was the action and progress on community resiliency and sustainability that were the real benefits of participating in the projects."