A College of Letters & Science June 2, 2017, article titled “Harvesting data to grow farmers markets” featured Metrics + Indicators for Impact (MIFI), an online toolkit designed by UW-Madison researchers to help farmers market managers gather and interpret data. As part of the MIFI initiative, Teaching & Research Application Development (TRAD) developed a portal to make data collection, organization, and interactive report generation easier.
Led by Urban & Regional Planning Professor Alfonso Morales and graduate student Lauren Suerth, MIFI encourages markets to use metrics and data collection not only to enhance internal decision-making but also to share insights about their impact on communities. For instance, the Fond du Lac farmers market used the tool to highlight the $1.1 million in additional economic activity and five new jobs the market generated.
TRAD began collaborating with the MIFI team over a year ago to provide technical solutions that support the collection of a variety of metrics, including vendor applications, visitor counts and survey information, sales data, and market profiles. In addition, TRAD developed analysis tools and interfaces that allow markets and administrators to view and create reports based on data gathered. The work continues as our team adds new data-analysis and report-generating features as well as helps to improve usability.
“Collaborating on the MIFI project has been a fulfilling experience. Providing technical approaches that can easily allow market managers to upload market data and view analytics to assist in decision-making is a difficult and worthwhile challenge,” said Garrett Smith, the lead TRAD developer.
The MIFI project is a prime example of the Wisconsin Idea, which is the philosophy that university research should be used to help improve health, quality of life, the environment and agriculture for all Wisconsin citizens. Routinely ranked as a top research institution in the world, UW-Madison has a lot to offer – including an ever increasing amount of data.
“We’re seeing a growing need on campus to build software to manage large data sets compiled by and presented to multiple audiences,” Garrett explained. “And this project provided another opportunity to continue strategizing on how to approach such projects to best serve the needs of researchers as well as other end users.”
With their technical expertise, collaboration-focused working style and dedication to the UW-Madison mission, TRAD is well-situated to meet the evolving needs of researchers on campus. If you’re interested in discussing potential projects, contact DoIT Academic Technology via email or phone at (608) 262-5667.
To hear from Professor Alfonso Morales and Lauren Suerth about their experience working with TRAD, watch the below video.