Healthy Food Pantry Assessment Project

Primary investigator: Karen Barale, MS, RD, FADA, Associate Professor and State EFNEP Leader – Washington State University Extension

Research Coordinator: Alexandra Bush-Kaufman, MPH, RD – Washington State University Extension

The Healthy Food Pantry Assessment Project was designed in three phases. Phase one included in-depth semi-structured qualitative interviews with food pantry managers and EFNEP/SNAP-Ed managers to determine current practices of “healthy food pantries” within the food assistance system of the NIFA Western Region. Phase two tested a draft pilot assessment tool in five state and included site visits to food pantry sites by a trained researcher who completed on-site cognitive interviews of the assessment tool content. Phase three was a field test of the food pantry environment with the assessment tool. Field testing for validity and reliability was completed in seven states: California, Delaware, Maryland, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Washington. Final data was collected in August 2017 and is currently undergoing analysis. The final product will be an assessment tool for the food pantry environment that will provide a numeric score on a scale of 0-100. The closer to 100, the more aligned the pantry environment is to current healthy best practices defined by in-depth interview results and research literature. Most pantries score between 35 and 65 at the start of the process. In addition, a recorded training presentation, instruction manual, and matched resource guide of best practice strategies will be available. This tool can help pantries and their SNAP-Ed and EFNEP partners identify action areas for PSE interventions, and the tool can be used pre/post to assess change. The documents of the Healthy Food Pantry Assessment Toolkit are available for download by the links below. The Healthy Food Pantry Assessment Tool has been formatted to print in a booklet when using a printer capable of 11 x 17 inch printing. To print in a large booklet, open the PDF in Adobe Reader, select print. Under “Page Sizing and Handling” select booklet. The printer will rotate and adjust the page order to accommodate the booklet format if desired. For additional information about this project, please contact RNECE-W Research Coordinator, Alexandra Bush-Kaufman (

  1. Healthy Food Pantry Assessment Toolkit – All
  2. Healthy Food Pantry Assessment Tool ONLY
  3. Instructions ONLY
  4. Resource Guide ONLY
  5. Webinar Training Recording: Healthy Food Pantry Assessment Tool

Conference Presentations

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Expo and Conference, Chicago, IL October 24, 2017

Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior Annual Conference, Washington D.C. July 21, 2017