Date of Award:

Summer 2017

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Applied Sciences, Technology, and Education

Advisor/Chair:

Kelsey L. Hall

Co-Advisor/Chair:

Roslynn Brain

Third Advisor:

Rebecca G. Lawver

Abstract

Many studies have observed the involvement of stakeholders in farm to school (FTS) programming to further understand their role, yet no study had previously assessed the role of Utah farmers in FTS programming. As a result, the purpose of this research was to describe Utah farmers' role in FTS programming and their interest in institutional marketing of local foods. The researcher sent an online descriptive survey to 5,470 farmers belonging to the Utah Farm Bureau. The survey used Dillman's Tailored Design Method. Of the 184 survey responses received, 143 surveys were usable.

The theory of planned behavior was the theoretical framework for the study. Respondents reported a positive attitude toward FTS programming, although a majority (83.6%) had not participated. They indicated that building relationships with community members and increasing awareness of local food were top benefits associated with FTS programming. Top barriers to participating in FTS programming included a lack of information about schools seeking to purchase local products and restriction of growing seasons. Respondents indicated that they intended to host farm tours for students and food service personnel. Their training and resource needs related to FTS programming included small business assistance. Demographics characteristics revealed a majority of respondents were male and had more than 22 years of farming experience. The subjective norm and perceived behavioral control components of the theory of planned behavior statistically predicted the intention of respondents to participate in farm to school programming. Theory components, including attitude, accounted for 67.2% of the variance in intention to participate in FTS programming. These findings suggest other influences contributed to the intention of respondents to participate in FTS programming.

One future research recommendation for FTS programming includes conducting similar studies with different groups of farmers. The researcher recommends continued use of the theory of planned behavior as a theoretical framework for studies assessing involvement in FTS programming. Variables not included in this study may discover further influences on farmers' intention to participate in FTS programming. One recommendation is to increase outreach and marketing to farmers who may be interested in FTS programming.

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