Date of Award

Summer 6-16-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Nutrition

First Advisor

Dr. Murugi Ndirangu

Second Advisor

Dr. Mildred M. Cody

Third Advisor

Cathy McCarroll

Abstract

Purpose: Farm to School (F2S) Programs are increasing in number across the United States, yet research on teachers’ perceptions and practices about F2S is limited. Teachers are a key component of any F2S program, since their acceptance and support influences program implementation and sustainability. The purpose of this study was to examine teacher practices, attitudes, and perceptions about the Decatur F2S Program.

Methods: City Schools of Decatur teachers completed a questionnaire designed to obtain information concerning their practices, attitudes, and perceptions regarding the Decatur F2S Program. Participants indicated their level of agreement with 18 statements using a Likert scale rating, answered an open-ended question, and recorded both implemented and desired F2S activities. Cumulative frequencies were determined for all questionnaire items, and themes were extracted for the open-ended question.

Results: Seventy percent of K – 12 teachers would like to see F2S activities implemented in their classroom, and 28% of these teachers already implement some F2S activity. The majority of teachers had positive perceptions about the Decatur Farm to School Program’s impact on students, the local economy, and the environment. Teachers perceived that the F2S programs encompassed four themes: 1) supplying schools with locally grown foods; 2) educating children on healthy eating, food, and nutrition; 3) educating children on gardening and growing foods; and 4) building a strong connection between local farms, schools, and communities.

Conclusion: There is a high degree of interest and support for the Decatur F2S Program by City Schools of Decatur teachers, which is consistent with efforts to implement F2S Programs across the country. Most teachers were not familiar with the CSD F2S Program but would desire F2S activities in their schools.

Included in

Nutrition Commons

COinS