Planting Healthy Roots: Using Documentary Film to Evaluate and Disseminate Community-Based Participatory Research

Documentary filmmaking approaches incorporating community engagement and awareness raising strategies may be a promising approach to evaluate community-based participatory research. The documentary film was designed to promote the farmers’ market as well as evaluate and disseminate the intervention. The purpose of this study was both to evaluate the viewers’ satisfaction of the film and to assess whether the film affected viewers’ awareness regarding food access issues and healthy foods in a food-desert community with high rates of obesity. The coalition model of filmmaking, a model consistent with a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach, and personal stories, community profiles, and expert interviews were used to develop a documentary film (Planting Healthy Roots). The evaluation demonstrated high levels of approval and satisfaction with the film and CBPR essence of the film. The documentary film aligned with a CBPR approach to document, evaluate, and disseminate research processes and outcomes.

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Citation: Brandt HM, Freedman DA, Friedman DB, Choi SK, Seel JS, Guest MA, Khang L. Planting healthy roots: using documentary film to evaluate and disseminate community-based participatory research. Fam Community Health. 2016 Oct-Dec;39(4):242-50. Doi: 10.1097/FCH.0000000000000120. PMID: 2753629

Acknowledgments: Funding provided to the South Carolina Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network (SC-CPCRN) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research Center and National Cancer Institute–funded CPCRN (U48/DP001936 and U48/DP005000-01S2). Additional funding for the documentary film, Planting Healthy Roots, was provided by the University of South Carolina Science and Health Communication Research Group. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the National Institutes of Health. The authors thank the community advisory group, Family Health Centers, Inc, of Orangeburg, South Carolina, members of the community, and all those who participated in and supported the “Right Choice, Fresh Start” Farmers’ Market. The authors extend special thanks to the student filmmakers (Tim Jacobs and Trey Murphy) and Professor Laura Kissel (faculty advisor) in the Film and Media Studies Program at the University of South Carolina. Finally, the authors dedicate this article to former South Carolina State Senator Rev Clementa Pinckney for his dedication to increasing access to healthy foods among residents of South Carolina, including introducing and passing legislation related directly to the outcomes of the “Right Choice, Fresh Start” Farmers’Market, and for being a champion for rural economic development among small-scale farmers and social justice.