St. Louis, MO, March 8, 2010 During the school day, children eat roughly one-third of their nutritional needs while at school. Besides lunch, breakfast and snacks may be served, providing ample opportunities for obesity-prevention strategies by offering more nutritious food. With economical constraints interfering with schools to provide children with increased amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, a study in the March/April issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior examines how farm-to-school programs have the potential to improve children's diets by providing locally grown produce without burdening the school's finances.
Researchers at the Michigan State University, Lansing, examined why farmers, school food service professionals (SFSP), and food distributors participate in farm-to-school programs and how they characterize the opportunities and challenges to school food procurement from local farmers. Researchers identified three major reasons why SFSP participate in farm-to-school programs including (1) ''The students like it,'' (2) ''The price is right,'' and (3) ''We're helping our local farmer.''
There were three areas that emerged from analysis of the SFSP's interviews about students/children participation in the farm-to-school programs which included: (1) quality, (2) influence of food service staff, and (3) relationships with farmers. The findings were best described by following two SFSP's interviews:
"A lot of our teachers go to apple orchards so it was neat to have them served for lunch [ . . . ] so we had that link, cafeteria, classroom, field trip. I think they might have said something to the kids, and then the kids get a little more attention so they're like huh, maybe I should eat this apple instead of just letting it sit on the tray.''
''The kids just love [farmer]. He's one of the coolest guys in the world. And if we're able to do that, it becomes a cool food and kids like co
|Contact: Lynelle Korte|
Elsevier Health Sciences