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Farm-to-School Programs: Perspectives of School Food Service Professionals
Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (2010)
  • Betty T. Izumi
  • Katherine Alaimo, Michigan State University
  • Michael W. Hamm, Michigan State University
This qualitative study used a case study approach to explore the potential of farm-to-school programs to simultaneously improve children's diets and provide farmers with viable market opportunities.
Semistructured interviews were the primary data collection strategy.
Seven farm-to-school programs in the Upper Midwest and Northeast regions of the United States.
Seven school food service professionals, 7 farmers, and 4 food distributors recruited from 7 farm-to-school programs.
Phenomenon of Interest
Interviews probed why farmers, school food service professionals, and food distributors participate in farm-to-school programs and how they characterize the opportunities and challenges to local school food procurement.
Data were analyzed using thematic coding and data displays.
School food service professionals described 3 motivators for buying locally grown food for their cafeterias: (1) “The students like it,” (2) “The price is right,” and (3) “We're helping our local farmer.” Students' preference for locally grown food was related to food quality, influence of school staff, and relationships with farmers. Buying food directly from farmers and wholesalers was associated with lower prices and flexible specifications, and the “local feel.”
Conclusions and Implications
Understanding school food service professionals' motivations for buying locally grown food is critical to sustainability of farm-to-school programs.
  • Local foods -- Health aspects,
  • Children -- Nutrition
Publication Date
March, 2010
Publisher Statement
Copyright (2010) Elsevier
Citation Information
Betty T. Izumi, Katherine Alaimo and Michael W. Hamm. "Farm-to-School Programs: Perspectives of School Food Service Professionals" Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior Vol. 42 Iss. 2 (2010) p. 83 - 91
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