Research Article| Volume 50, ISSUE 4, P332-339.e1, April 2018

Download started.


A Plate Waste Evaluation of the Farm to School Program

Published:November 14, 2017DOI:



      To investigate the impacts of the Farm to School (FTS) Program on the selection and consumption of fruits and vegetables.


      Plate waste data were recorded using the visual inspection method before and after implementation of the program.


      Six elementary schools in Florida: 3 treatment and 3 control schools.


      A total of 11,262 meal observations of National School Lunch Program (NSLP) participants in grades 1–5.


      The FTS Program, specifically local procurement of NSLP offerings, began in treatment schools in November, 2015 after the researchers collected preintervention data.

      Main Outcome Measures

      The NSLP participants' selection and consumption of fruits and vegetables.


      Data were analyzed using Mann–Whitney U and proportions tests and difference-in-difference regressions.


      The NSLP participants at the treatment schools consumed, on average, 0.061 (P = .002) more servings of vegetables and 0.055 (P = .05) more servings of fruit after implementation of the FTS Program. When school-level fixed effects are included, ordinary least squares and tobit regression results indicated that NSLP participants at the treatment schools respectively consumed 0.107 (P < .001) and 0.086 (P < .001) more servings of vegetables, on average, after implementation of the FTS Program.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Local procurement positively affected healthy eating.

      Key Words

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access

      SNEB Member Login

      SNEB Members, full access to the journal is a member benefit. Login via the SNEB Website to access all journal content and features.


      Subscribe to Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service
        The Farm to School Census.
        Date: 2015
        Date accessed: September 15, 2017
        • Ralston K.
        • Beaulieu E.
        • Hyman J.
        • Benson M.
        • Smith M.
        Daily Access to Local Foods for School Meals: Key Drivers, EIB-168, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
        • United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service
        Farm to School Program: fact sheet: Research Shows Farm to School Works.
        (Washington DC)
        • United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service
        Schools Serving, Kids Eating Healthier School Meals.
        (Farm to School Census)
        • Izumi B.T.
        • Alaimo K.
        • Hamm M.W.
        Farm-to-school programs: perspectives of school food service professionals.
        J Nutr Educ Behav. 2010; 42: 83-91
        • Joshi A.
        • Azuma A.M.
        • Feenstra G.
        Do farm-to-school programs make a difference? Findings and future research needs.
        J Hunger Environ Nutr. 2008; 3: 229-246
        • Taylor J.C.
        • Johnson R.K.
        Farm to school as a strategy to increase children's fruit and vegetable consumption in the united states: research and recommendations.
        Nutr Bulletin. 2013; 38: 70-79
        • Yoder A.B.B.
        • Liebhart J.L.
        • McCarty D.J.
        • et al.
        Farm to elementary school programming increases access to fruits and vegetables and increases their consumption among those with low intake.
        J Nutr Educ Behav. 2014; 46: 341-349
        • Yoder A.B.B.
        • Foecke L.L.
        • Schoeller D.A.
        Factors affecting fruit and vegetable school lunch waste in wisconsin elementary schools participating in farm to school programmes.
        Public Health Nutr. 2015; 18: 2855-2863
        • Jones S.J.
        • Childers C.
        • Weaver A.T.
        • Ball J.
        SC farm-to-school programs encourages children to consume vegetables.
        J Hunger Environ Nutr. 2015; 10: 511-525
        • United States Department of Education
        Improving Basic Programs Operated by Local Educational Agencies (Title I, Part A).
        Date: 2015
        Date accessed: September 26, 2016
        • Robinson-O'Brien R.
        • Burgess-Champoux T.
        • Haines J.
        • Hannan P.J.
        • Neumark-Sztainer D.
        Associations between school meals offered through the national school lunch program and the school breakfast program and fruit and vegetable intake among ethnically diverse, low-income children.
        J Sch Health. 2010; 80: 487-492
        • Martin C.K.
        • Thomson J.L.
        • LeBlanc M.M.
        • et al.
        Children in school cafeterias select foods containing more saturated fat and energy than the institute of medicine recommendations.
        J Nutr. 2010; 140: 1653-1660
        • United States Department of Agriculture
        National Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.
        • Hanks A.S.
        • Wansink B.
        • Just D.R.
        Reliability and accuracy of real-time visualization techniques for measuring school cafeteria tray waste: validating the quarter-waste method.
        J Acad Nutr Diet. 2014; 114: 470-474
        • Martins M.L.
        • Cunha L.M.
        • Rodrigues S.S.P.
        • Rocha A.
        Determination of plate waste in primary school lunches by weighing and visual estimation methods: a validation study.
        Waste Manag. 2014; 34: 1362-1368
        • United States Department of Agriculture. Food and Nutrition Service
        Final Rule Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.
        • Wansink B.
        • Just D.R.
        • Payne C.R.
        • Klinger M.Z.
        Attractive names sustain increased vegetable intake in schools.
        Prev Med. 2012; 55: 330-332
        • Wansink B.
        • Just D.R.
        • Payne C.R.
        Can branding improve school lunches?.
        Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012; 166 (Accessed May 17, 2017): 967-968
        • Thorndike A.N.
        • Riis J.
        • Sonnenberg L.M.
        • Levy D.E.
        Traffic-light labels and choice architecture: promoting healthy food choices.
        Am J Prev Med. 2014; 46: 143-149

      CHORUS Manuscript

      View Open Manuscript