Market Guardians is collaboration with the Food Guardians project of Southeast Food Access. Hunter’s Point and Bayview residents lack access to not only affordable healthy foods, but also accurate and real-time data on availability and choices in their local stores and markets. Our solution is to employ mobile survey and gaming technology to (1) create a simple needs assessment survey tool (2) make the survey tool more accessible & agile through a open mobile based version (3) then create a “skin” for the tool that empowers to stakeholders as collectors…a.k.a. make it a GAME!
The Store Checkup mobile survey tool is an adaption of validated public health survey tools (like NEMS-S), focused on key indicators of healthy food options and availability: quantity and prices of whole grains, low-fat milk, low sugar beverages, fresh fruit, vegetables, etc. and favorable store conditions to encourage healthy choices. Using a simple interface, the survey tool chunks data into manageable categories and takes advantage of the intuitive and quick nature of the mobile interface and geo-location technology. This tool can be used on any phone with a web browser.
The Market Guardian game app creates an engaging package to incentivize youth and adult mentors to gather data on their local food environment. By signing up as Guardian, a youth leader can earn badges and work her way up to King Guardian by staking out new stores to survey, completing survey badges for Photo, Milk, Grain, Appearance, etc, crowd-sourcing friends to help complete whole store surveys, and repeating surveying over time to gather longitudinal data. The game will also engage store owners in a Yelp like interface, where they can gain popularity by offering coupons, displaying QR coded posters that ask “Stake Me on Market Guardians”, and responding to comments left by Guardians during their play.