A Plate Waste Evaluation of theFarm to School Program


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Abstract

Objective:To investigate the impacts of the Farm to School (FTS) Program on the selection and consumption of fruits and vegetables.Design:Plate waste data were recorded using the visual inspection method before and after implementation of the program.Setting:Six elementary schools in Florida: 3 treatment and 3 control schools.Participants:A total of 11,262 meal observations of National School Lunch Program (NSLP) participants in grades 1–5.Intervention:The FTS Program, specifically local procurement of NSLP offerings, began in treatment schools in November, 2015 after the researchers collected preintervention data.Main Outcome Measures:The NSLP participants' selection and consumption of fruits and vegetables.Analysis:Data were analyzed using Mann–Whitney U and proportions tests and difference-in-difference regressions.Results:The NSLP participants at the treatment schools consumed, on average, 0.061 (P = .002) more servings of vegetables and 0.055 (P = .05) more servings of fruit after implementation of the FTS Program. When school-level fixed effects are included, ordinary least squares and tobit regression results indicated that NSLP participants at the treatment schools respectively consumed 0.107 (P < .001) and 0.086 (P < .001) more servings of vegetables, on average, after implementation of the FTS Program.Conclusions and Implications:Local procurement positively affected healthy eating.

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