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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Integrating local agriculture into nutrition programs can benefit children's health

  • Author(s): Scherr, Rachel E
  • Cox, Rachel J
  • Feenstra, Gail
  • Zidenberg-Cherr, Sheri
  • et al.

Childhood obesity has multiple interrelated causes and so should be addressed with multiple interventions, including innovative nutrition education programs that encourage healthy lifestyle choices in children. Research indicates that garden-based nutrition education increases fruit and vegetable preferences and consumption in children. Additionally, many reports on Farm to School programs indicate they promote both increased consumption of fruits and vegetables and participation in the National School Lunch Program. Within California, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources plays a leadership role in school garden and Farm to School programs. We provide a relevant literature review and assess the role of UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) in program implementation and assessment, including results from a survey of UCCE advisors and directors. All respondents reported implementation of garden-based nutrition education and Farm to School programs; however, evaluation occurred much less frequently.

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