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Connecting local food to students: A formative and impact evaluation proposal of the farm to school program

Yates, Kristen (2013) Connecting local food to students: A formative and impact evaluation proposal of the farm to school program. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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This essay addresses evaluations of a promising ecological school intervention, Farm to School, aiming to improve child nutrition and incorporate local healthy foods in the school meal system, while creating a sustainable market for local farmers. By providing an overview of Farm to School program interventions, this essay first identifies gaps and limitations in evaluations designs, which include the inability to compare results due to variation in program activity design, lack of experimental evaluation designs to determine dietary impact, the absence of organization relationship measures, and lack of documentation on the effect of school policies and involvement of caregivers. Theoretically, exposure to nutritious foods should lead to improved student dietary behavior, but there is a lack of peer-reviewed evaluation results in recent literature to support this claim. The second goal of the paper is to propose a formative and impact evaluation to attain more conclusive results and to aid Farm to School directors in assessing an individual program’s processes. The formative evaluation for use of Farm to School program directors aims to evaluate programs from a socio ecological framework. The proposed formative evaluation tool includes both existing questionnaires used by current Farm to School programs and surveys that have been adapted to fit Farm to School needs. These surveys identify the effect of caregiver involvement, the strength of a program’s organizational capacity, community readiness, policy strength and assessments of the school environment. In addition, this essay proposes a quasi-experimental impact evaluation design that may be used for future programs to obtain conclusive results of the program’s effects on student dietary behavior and attitudes towards healthy lifestyles and the local community. The proposed impact evaluation, when implemented, will show which program activities have the greatest effect on student behavior and knowledge, the environmental factors that help best facilitate desired results, and give conclusive student dietary impact results that may fuel future funding opportunities and expansion of the Farm to School movement. These evaluations hold the public health significance of strengthening research in Farm to School process and impact analysis, which can lead to changes in policy and the school environment that improve current and future student nutrition behavior.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Yates, Kristen
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKeane, Christophercrkcity@pitt.eduCRKCITYUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberDodd, Judithjdodd@pitt.eduJDODDUNSPECIFIED
Date: 2013
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: No
Date Deposited: 11 May 2015 14:33
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2024 11:55


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