Online Program

Home Base: A practice-based program to build capacity to prepare fresh, local produce in school cafeterias and encourage healthy eating amongst Child Nutrition Service Staff

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Molly M. De Marco, PhD, MPH, Center for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Larissa Calancie, Nutrition Department, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Linden Thayer, BA, Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC
Ryan McGuire, The Chefs Academy, Morrisville, NC
Karen Essig, Child Nutrition Services, Chapel Hill/Carrboro City Schools, Chapel Hill, NC
Liz Cartano, Child Nutrition Services, Chapel Hill/Carrboro City Schools, Chapel Hill, NC
Introduction:  Home Base, designed by a school chef, is a program designed to increase the capacity of Child Nutrition Services (CNS) to serve local foods during school meals, and to encourage healthy cooking and nutrition habits among staff.

Approach: We partnered with a school food company to update the Home Base curriculum and deliver training to CNS in 3 Southern counties.  Two schools in each county were selected as intervention schools; each received two trainings including nutrition education, recipe preparation, and discussion of barriers and opportunities for incorporating more local produce into school meals.  Cafeteria audits were conducted to assess scratch cooking infrastructure.  Pre and post training surveys were administered to assess knowledge, attitudes, and skills.  We also conducted taste-test surveys with students. 

Results:  A total of 40 CNS participated across the 3 school districts. Cafeteria audits revealed that one district did not have knives or cutting boards, tools essential for preparing fresh produce. Those items, as well as other small cook wares were purchased for the schools using funds from a USDA Farm-to-school implementation grant. Schools began to offer fresh, local items demoed during the training such as sweet potato wedges. All participants reported that they would recommend the program to a colleague.  Many suggested that there should be more time allotted to hands-on recipe preparation.

Discussion:  Home Base is a practice-based program providing hands-on cooking skills training and is acceptable to CNS.  Further effectiveness testing should be conducted with a larger sample of participants.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the component of a training to increase cooking skills among child nutrition staff. Explain how to evaluate the impact of a training for child nutrition staff to build cooking skills. List the benefits of providing local foods as part of school meals.

Keyword(s): Nutrition, Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I co-wrote the proposal to obtain this funding. I direct this study in partnership with the school district. I developed the evaluation tools.
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.