Farm-to-School (F2S) programs are gaining attention for many reasons, one of which is the recognition that they could positively influence the trend of increasing prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity. Of the F2S programs that have been evaluated, most have demonstrated increased selection or intake of fruits and vegetables by students following the incorporation of farm produce into school salad bars, meal selections, or class-based education. With that said, the wide range of activities that are part of typical F2S programs makes it difficult to pinpoint which components have the greatest potential to improve student’s health behaviors. Within the field of nutrition education, theory-based interventions that target what we know to be the key underlying factors influencing health behavior are considered to offer the most promise. Therefore, this paper explores how components of Vermont F2S programs address key constructs of the Social Cognitive Theory. The types of activities that are part of F2S are found to touch upon many of the theoretical constructs in the Social Cognitive Theory, leading to the conclusion that F2S programs have great potential to facilitate movement towards desired dietary changes. However, in the current approach, the likelihood is low that a set of activities in any one F2S program addresses multiple constructs of the theory in a systematic manner. Hence, a more intentional inclusion of diverse activities would likely be beneficial. More research is needed to test these assertions.
Berlin, Linda; Norris, Kim; Kolodinsky, Jane; and Nelson, Abbie, "Farm-to-School: Implications for Child Nutrition" (2010). Opportunities for Agriculture Working Paper Series. 1.