Key DFM Personnel

Tara LaRowe, PhD – Principal Investigator

Funding

CDC; Subcontract from the WI Department of Health Services

Summary

The purpose of the Farm to Schools (F2S) evaluation project is to assist the Wisconsin Departments of Health Services (DHS) and Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), in their required program evaluation in 15 WI schools intended to improve children’s eating habits, access to locally grown foods, and stimulating local economy by partnering local farmers with schools. This information will help establish state wide policy in supporting F2S programs in Wisconsin. An overall goal of F2S programs in Wisconsin is to improve nutrition among children and decrease obesity prevalence.

Read Report: Wisconsin Farm to School: One Year Evaluation Report

Goal

The role of UW DFM in this project involves analysis of data on measured levels of diet, eating behaviors, and health outcomes, such as body mass index (BMI). At the student level, a questionnaire will assess changes in student knowledge and student attitudes regarding the consumption of fruits and vegetables; changes in self-reported fruit and vegetable intake as well as lunchroom observations of changes in fruit and vegetable waste; and changes in health outcomes including body mass index (BMI) and absenteeism.

Methodology

At the stakeholder level, the school district administrator in charge of the F2S will be asked to describe the components of the school’s program; the school breakfast and lunch menus will be collected to quantitatively assess changes in school meals; and interviews of school administrations, food service directors and participating farmers to qualitatively assess of perceievd barriers and opportunities.

At the economic level, the expenditures for locally obtained produce will be collected from each school using the WI Dept of Public Instruction food claim form.

The information described above will be collected largely by school district F2S coordinators or AmeriCorp volunteers at participating schools. (The AmeriCorp volunteers work directly with DATCP F2S program. These individuals conduct all F2S program activities at their assinged school(s).) Information will be collected during three different time periods: Fall 2010, Spring 2011 and Fall 2011. Analysis will examine individual and school-level changes in these areas.

Schools involved in the project were recruited by WI DATCP. Within each school, students in grades 3, 4, and 5, will routinely take part in student diet and eating behavior surveys, plate waste recording from cafeteria lunches, and height and weight measurements for BMI measurements. AmeriCorp volunteers will report on F2S activities in schools, interview school staff and administration and participating farmers in program benefits and challenges. UW staff will assist in suggesting tools and in data entry analysis.