Challenges and Benefits Experienced by Mississippi Schools in the Adoption of Farm to School Programs
Date of Award
Mississippi obesity rates are the second highest in the United States. An appropriate target group to combat the state’s high obesity rates are school age children (ages 18 and under), because healthy eating habits developed at this age translate into adult years. An avenue to encourage and develop healthy eating habits are Farm to School (F2S) programs, which provide in-school accessibility to healthy, locally produced foods. The objective of this study was to analyze the results from the 2015 United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) F2S Census, which collected details regarding F2S participation across the country, to determine the benefits and challenges faced by Mississippi school districts in the adoption of F2S programs. This was accomplished by sequestering responses provided by Mississippi school districts on the 2015 USDA F2S Census. Responses regarding F2S participation, challenges and benefits faced in the adoption of F2S programs, and which F2S activities received greatest participation were quantified. Results indicated that out of Mississippi school districts that responded to the USDA F2S Census (N=108), roughly half (N=55), participated in F2S programs while the remaining school districts (N=53) faced challenges such as reliable availability of desired foods, pricing concerns, and limitations by school food policies. Benefits experienced include reduced school meal costs, increased acceptance of new meals, and increased school lunch participation. These benefits are significant enough that school districts facing challenges in the adoption of F2S programs should seek aid in adoption of these programs from national and state-based resources.
Franco Pech, Manuel Aldair, "Challenges and Benefits Experienced by Mississippi Schools in the Adoption of Farm to School Programs" (2021). Honors Theses. 1642.
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