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ARS Home » Research » Research Project #431024

Research Project: Arkansas Farm to School & School Garden Projects

Location: Office of The Area Director

Project Number: 6001-51000-004-01-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2016
End Date: Jun 30, 2021

Objective:
Multi-component school-based interventions can be effective at increasing children’s fruit and vegetable intake as well as improving health indicators such as body mass index and blood pressure. One such multi-component intervention is a farm to school program that links the cafeteria, classroom, and community in an effort to increase children's exposure to fruits and vegetables by creating a healthy school environment. In addition, farm to school programs can improve the community's economy by creating a school-based market for local farmers to sell their produce and encouraging families to purchase locally. Therefore, the objective of this research project is to longitudinally assess perceptions, knowledge, and health behaviors and outcomes of multiple stakeholder groups before, during, and after the introduction of multiple food systems interventions related to farm to school programs and school gardens.

Approach:
Researchers will measure students’ nutrition knowledge, fruit and vegetable preference and intake, perceived behavioral control, normative beliefs, and biometric outcomes. Parents' knowledge, preferences, and behaviors also will be assessed. School faculty and staff will provide input regarding the logistics of implementing farm to school and school garden projects. Data will be collected on all consenting/assenting 3rd-12th grade students, their parents, and the faculty/staff of the Conway Public School District.