Evaluating Food Policy Councils Using Structural Equation Modeling

Larissa Calancie, Nicole E. Allen, Shu Wen Ng, Bryan J. Weiner, Dianne S. Ward, William B. Ware, Alice S. Ammerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


At least 282 Food Policy Councils (FPCs) are currently working to improve access to healthy foods in their communities by connecting food system sectors, gathering community input, and advising food policy. Empirical research on FPCs is limited. This study empirically evaluates FPCs to better understand the relationships between Organizational Capacity, Social Capital, and Council Effectiveness by testing a FPC Framework adapted from Allen and colleagues (2012). Members of all FPCs in the U.S., Canada, and Native American Tribes and First Nations were invited to complete the Food Policy Council Self-Assessment Tool (FPC-SAT). Structural equation modeling was used to test the FPC Framework. Three hundred and fifty-four FPC members from 95 councils completed the FPC-SAT. After slight modification, a revised FPC Framework was a good fit with the data (χ2 = 40.085, df = 24, p-value =.021, comparative fit index = 0.988, Tucker Lewis index = 0.982, root mean squared error of approximation = 0.044, p-close =.650). A moderation analysis revealed that community context influences the relationship between Social Capital and Council Effectiveness within the FPC Framework. The FPC Framework can guide capacity building interventions and FPC evaluations. The empirically tested framework can help FPCs efficiently work toward achieving their missions and improving their local food system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-264
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican journal of community psychology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • Community coalition
  • Evaluation
  • Food Policy Councils
  • Food system
  • Public health
  • Structural equation modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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