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Perceptions of nutrition education classes offered in conjunction with a community-supported agriculture intervention among low-income families

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 August 2020

Isabel Lu
Affiliation:
Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
Karla L Hanson
Affiliation:
Master of Public Health Program, Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
Stephanie B Jilcott Pitts
Affiliation:
Department of Public Health, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA
Jane Kolodinsky
Affiliation:
Department of Community Development and Applied Economics, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, USA
Alice S Ammerman
Affiliation:
Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
Marilyn Sitaker
Affiliation:
Ecological Agriculture and Food Systems, The Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA, USA
Weiwei Wang
Affiliation:
Ecological Agriculture and Food Systems, The Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA, USA
Leah C Volpe
Affiliation:
Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
Emily H Belarmino
Affiliation:
Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, USA
Jennifer Garner
Affiliation:
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
Liana Gonsalves
Affiliation:
Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
Rebecca A Seguin
Affiliation:
AgriLife Research, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA Department of Nutrition, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA
Corresponding

Abstract

Objective:

To examine participants’ experiences with nutrition education classes that were implemented with and designed to complement a cost-offset community-supported agriculture (CSA) programme.

Design:

Qualitative analysis of data from twenty-eight focus groups with ninety-six participants enrolled in Farm Fresh Foods for Healthy Kids (F3HK). Transcribed data were coded and analysed by a priori and emergent themes.

Setting:

Rural and micropolitan communities in New York, North Carolina, Vermont and Washington (USA).

Participants:

Ninety-six F3HK participants.

Results:

Participants found recipes and class activities helpful and reported improvements in nutrition knowledge, food preservation skills and home cooking behaviours for themselves and their children; they also reported that classes promoted a sense of community. Some educators better incorporated CSA produce into lessons, which participants reported as beneficial. Other obligations and class logistics were barriers to attendance; participants recommended that lessons be offered multiple times weekly at different times of day. Other suggestions included lengthening class duration to encourage social engagement; emphasising recipes to incorporate that week’s CSA produce and pantry staples and offering additional strategies to incorporate children in classes.

Conclusion:

Complementing a cost-offset CSA with nutrition education may enhance programme benefits to low-income families by improving nutrition knowledge and cooking behaviours. However, future interventions will benefit from ongoing coordination between educators and local growing trajectories to maximise timely coverage of unfamiliar produce in lessons; synchronous scheduling of CSA pick-up and classes for participant convenience and creative strategies to engage children and/or provide childcare.

Type
Research paper
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Nutrition Society

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Footnotes

Clinical Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02770196. Registered 5 April 2016.

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