Poster Title

From Research to Reality: Using a Multidimensional, Interdisciplinary Approach to Address College Food Insecurity with the Farm-to-Fork Program

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Human Nutrition

Minor

Psychology

2nd Student Major

Dietetics

3rd Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Institution

University of Kentucky

KY House District #

45

KY Senate District #

12

Department

Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition

Abstract

From Research to Reality: Using a Multidimensional, Interdisciplinary Approach to Address College Food Insecurity with the Farm-to-Fork Program

Julia Garner, Kendra Oo, Cora Kerber, Liana Dixon, Cana Rohde, Celia Ritter, Michael Pennell, Tammy Stephenson

Faculty Mentor: Kendra Oo, MS, RD, LD

Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition

Food insecurity is a reality to millions of children and adults across the country, especially in the state of Kentucky and on the University of Kentucky (UK) campus. In a survey of UK students, 43% of the 1,854 respondents reported experiencing food insecurity while the majority of student focus group participants (n=33) shared challenges related to affording healthful food. Food insecurity in college students is a prevalent issue with possible lasting effects, such as poor performance in and out of the classroom, poor health and well-being, and increased rates of attrition. In an attempt to improve college food security, a multidimensional, interdisciplinary program, “Farm-to-Fork,” was established in September 2018 at UK. Farm-to-Fork, a student-led initiative, integrates social, sustainable, local, and educational resources through free, healthy, weekly lunches for college students. Between September 2018 and April 2019, Farm-to-Fork engaged 192 student volunteers who dedicated 783 hours to serve 2,843 meals to 1,012 students from over 70 majors. Over 2,000 pounds of recovered foods, including locally gleaned fruits and vegetables, were incorporated as part of the Farm-to-Fork meals, keeping the cost-per-meal for the project to less than 40 cents. Grant funding supported student experiential learning and research fellowships, supplies, and the purchase of additional food supplies needed to create a healthy and balanced meal. Of 261 students surveyed about Farm-to-Fork during the 2018-2019 academic year, 63% were considered food insecure and 81% reported not consuming foods from the five food groups daily. Fruits and vegetables were the most common food groups lacking in the diet. Students report their favorite aspects of Farm-to-Fork to be free food, balanced meals, welcoming atmosphere, variety and locality. Findings from the Farm-to-Fork program suggest its effectiveness in addressing food insecurity on a college campus and supports the need for innovative programming to promote student success and wellness.

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From Research to Reality: Using a Multidimensional, Interdisciplinary Approach to Address College Food Insecurity with the Farm-to-Fork Program

From Research to Reality: Using a Multidimensional, Interdisciplinary Approach to Address College Food Insecurity with the Farm-to-Fork Program

Julia Garner, Kendra Oo, Cora Kerber, Liana Dixon, Cana Rohde, Celia Ritter, Michael Pennell, Tammy Stephenson

Faculty Mentor: Kendra Oo, MS, RD, LD

Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition

Food insecurity is a reality to millions of children and adults across the country, especially in the state of Kentucky and on the University of Kentucky (UK) campus. In a survey of UK students, 43% of the 1,854 respondents reported experiencing food insecurity while the majority of student focus group participants (n=33) shared challenges related to affording healthful food. Food insecurity in college students is a prevalent issue with possible lasting effects, such as poor performance in and out of the classroom, poor health and well-being, and increased rates of attrition. In an attempt to improve college food security, a multidimensional, interdisciplinary program, “Farm-to-Fork,” was established in September 2018 at UK. Farm-to-Fork, a student-led initiative, integrates social, sustainable, local, and educational resources through free, healthy, weekly lunches for college students. Between September 2018 and April 2019, Farm-to-Fork engaged 192 student volunteers who dedicated 783 hours to serve 2,843 meals to 1,012 students from over 70 majors. Over 2,000 pounds of recovered foods, including locally gleaned fruits and vegetables, were incorporated as part of the Farm-to-Fork meals, keeping the cost-per-meal for the project to less than 40 cents. Grant funding supported student experiential learning and research fellowships, supplies, and the purchase of additional food supplies needed to create a healthy and balanced meal. Of 261 students surveyed about Farm-to-Fork during the 2018-2019 academic year, 63% were considered food insecure and 81% reported not consuming foods from the five food groups daily. Fruits and vegetables were the most common food groups lacking in the diet. Students report their favorite aspects of Farm-to-Fork to be free food, balanced meals, welcoming atmosphere, variety and locality. Findings from the Farm-to-Fork program suggest its effectiveness in addressing food insecurity on a college campus and supports the need for innovative programming to promote student success and wellness.