Masters Thesis

Farm-to-school in Humboldt County : opportunities for economic growth for small farmers and strategies for change in public schools

How can school districts, food service workers, parents and communities address childhood food insecurity and obesity? Limited nutrition and environmental education programs in schools also perpetuate problems of inactivity, poor nutrition among youth and a disassociation with local environments. The Farm-to-School program is explored as one method Humboldt County is using to unite schools and farmers in a mutually beneficial relationship. This project assisted Farm-to-School’s educational component by developing classroom presentations and slideshows as tools to integrate agricultural literacy into school curricula. A program evaluation design was also developed for future use in measuring Farm-to-School’s various program objectives and outcomes. In addition, this project assisted in the development of a salad bar pilot program. Literature in the areas of food insecurity, food and nutrition policies, and farming practices is used as a background and framework for the existing problems. By incorporating these areas of study, methods for food security such as food policy councils and Farm-to-School programs are explored as strategies for change. Collected data and observations show that programs like Farm-To-School are extremely valuable to small farmers and teachers in Humboldt County. Participants in Farm-to-School are enthusiastic and eager for extended education programs and increased marketing strategies that closely link local agriculture with county-wide school lunch programs.