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P008 ArFoods in the Garden: A SNAP-Ed Educational/PSE Strategy

      Objective

      To implement a nutrition, gardening-based pilot project in SNAP-Ed eligible schools that incorporates direct education, indirect education, and PSE

      Use of Theory or Research

      Studies show garden-based nutrition education combined with healthy food marketing has potential to improve children's diet quality and is associated with more positive food choices.

      Target Audience

      K-5th grade students, teachers in 4 SNAP-Ed eligible schools.

      Program Description

      University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service SNAP-Ed Program developed Arkansas Foods (ArFoods) to highlight locally grown foods. ArFoods consists of nutrition education posters, newsletters, and taste-testing activities that can be used alone or in conjunction with evidence-based curriculum. During Farm to School month 2021, ArFoods was used in school gardens. “ArFoods in the Garden” pilot project consisted of 34 individual events in 4 schools reaching 713 youth. Nutrition education posters featuring spinach were printed on corrugated plastic and used as crop markers. MyPlate resources were used, along with taste tests and physical activity breaks. Posters were displayed in cafeterias, and parent newsletters were sent home with students.

      Evaluation Methods

      Post-teacher survey used to assess value and effectiveness of pilot project, changes in eating habits of students and teachers, and PSE changes adopted. Students surveyed about whether they would try spinach again.

      Results

      All teachers (n = 6) reported the program was very valuable to their students; their students seemed more willing to try new foods. Among student respondents (n = 288), 80.9% indicated they would try spinach again. Among teachers, five (83%) reported because of program they were motivated to try new foods, eat healthier, and/or be more physically active; four (67%) reported making changes in classrooms.

      Conclusions

      This pilot project was an example of how multiple delivery methods (direct education, indirect education, policy, systems, and environmental) can be incorporated into SNAP-Ed approaches. The project was successful in increasing students’ and teachers’ willingness to try new healthy foods and/or be more physically active.

      Funding

      Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education

      SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

      Supplementary data related to this article can be found at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2022.04.048.

      Appendix. SUPPLEMENTARY DATA