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Research Project: Interplay of the Physical Environment, Social Domain, and Intrapersonal Factors on Nutrition and Physical Activity Related Health Behaviors in Children and Adolescents

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Title: Connecting Mississippi small farmers to school food service directors in a pandemic world

item Thomson, Jessica
item LANDRY, ALICIA - University Of Central Arkansas
item Walls, Tameka

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/10/2022
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused schools to operate in nontraditional platforms with supply chain disruptions resulting in procurement of foods that travel fewer miles to the cafeteria. Nationwide waivers intended to streamline meal access and reduce administrative burden have succeeded in increasing meals served and reimbursement rates which may result in more nutritious school meals. However, beneficial connections between local food producers and school food service directors (FSD) requires understanding about the needs, abilities, and interests of both groups. Thus, the purpose of our study was to collect information from Mississippi small farmers about their farm products and interest in F2S activities and to collect information from Mississippi school FSD about their purchasing practices, interest in purchasing locally grown foods, and F2S activities. The most common farm selling practices were farmers’ markets and on-farm stands with few selling to schools. On average, farmers grew 2 fruits and 6 vegetables. Schools’ most common locally sourced foods were fresh fruits and vegetables although almost half did not purchase any locally sourced foods. The majority of FSD purchased foods from government programs and vendors. Before F2S partnerships can “bear fruit,” notable barriers reported by both farmers and SFD need to be addressed.