255351 Connecting Local Farms with Schools to Improve Student Nutrition

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 3:30 PM - 3:50 PM

Jacqueline Lawler, MPH, CPH , Nursing Department, Orange County Health Department, Goshen, NY
Robert J. Deitrich , Community Health Outreach, Orange County Health Department, Newburgh, NY
Krista Smith McAdam, MSW , Community Health Outreach, Orange County Health Department, Newburgh, NY
Danielle Moser, MEd , Community Health Outreach, Orange County Health Department, Newburgh, NY
Heidi Meehan , Community Health Outreach, Orange County Health Department, Newburgh, NY
Meg Oakes, MS, RD , Community Health Outreach, Orange County Health Department, Newburgh, NY
Katherine J. Roberts, EdD, MPH, MCHES , Department of Health and Behavior Studies, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY
Kathy Perry , Director of Food Services, Enlarged City School District of Middletown, Middletown, NY
Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH) was one of four New York counties awarded a highly competitive federal grant as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Healthy Communities Strategic Alliance for Health. The goal of the grant is to create healthier communities through the implementation of sustainable, evidence-based community health promotion and chronic disease prevention strategies that support policy, systems, and environmental changes. One of the grant-funded initiatives focused on improving nutrition through the introduction of a Farm to School program in a school district where 71% of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Farm to School programs connect schools with local farms with the objectives of improving student nutrition, providing health and nutrition education opportunities, and supporting local farmers. Studies have shown that changes to the school food environment and strategies that lead to improved dietary behaviors are influential in reversing childhood obesity. OCDOH together with the school district and a community coalition facilitated the implementation of this initiative to increase student participation in purchasing healthier school meals. Salad bars were installed in three buildings and local produce was incorporated into existing recipes district wide. Salad sales increased dramatically and faculty incorporated lesson plans that taught students about their geographic community, portion sizes and nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables. The success led to the adoption of a new written policy and systems change to ensure sustainability. In addition, an implementation guide was created to illustrate how other communities can replicate specific programmatic activities.

Learning Areas:
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Describe a needs assessment that identifies the policy, systems, and environmental change strategies currently in place throughout the community. Identify successful strategies to implement Farm to School programs in other communities. Discuss the barriers that can arise and offer suggestions for effectively overcoming those hurdles.

Keywords: Nutrition, Partnerships

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I partner with the community health outreach program on numerous projects and have worked with various stakeholders in the community regarding nutrition education and childhood obesity.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.