To determine the appropriateness and feasibility of incorporating a gardening lesson into the existing Marshall University Nutrition Education Program (NEP) SNAP-Ed curriculum.
Use of Theory or Research
Endinjon & Besnilian identified an increase in the identification of food groups with a garden-enhanced nutrition education program. Research has identified that children who had more gardening experience had greater exposure, preference, and consumption of vegetables than those who had less.
SNAP-Ed administrators/educators, higher education faculty, dietetic interns/students.
The aim of our SNAP-Ed funded NEP is to improve the health of low-income youth through school-based programming that focuses on healthy food choices and physical activity behaviors. In 2017, the program incorporated gardening lessons in the existing curriculum in 45 schools.
A 21-question process evaluation surveyed NEP educators and dietetic interns to determine the appropriateness and feasibility of the gardening lesson. The evaluation looked at age appropriateness of gardening lessons and activities; taste-testing demonstrations; lesson preparation time; barriers to lesson implementation; and suggestions for changes to the current lessons.
Lesson preparation time was more extensive; although, overall more interactive than others in the curriculum. The lesson was difficult to implement in the allotted 30 minute time frame. The timing of the lesson could be improved if taught in the fall semester so students could see and taste the harvest.
Educators and interns believe that the gardening lesson could be extended by integrating gardening into other lessons in the curriculum and by developing a larger gardening activity to better utilize school gardens. The incorporation of the gardening lesson into the NEP curriculum has shown to be a favorite of the students and teachers who are participating in the environmental changes.