Date of Award

5-2019

Degree Type

Creative Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Heidi LeBlanc

Second Advisor

Jaydee Gunnell

Third Advisor

Mateja Savoie-Roskos

Abstract

Nearly 12.3% of American households are food insecure. In Cache County, Utah, specifically, the rates of food insecurity are even higher (15%). Addressing the issue of food insecurity improves physical/mental health outcomes, childhood cognitive/physical development, family environments, and decreases healthcare costs. Evidence-based strategies to improve food security include increasing one’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables and improving self-efficacy. Community gardens are recognized as an initiative that improve participant’s levels of food security. In Utah, a number of community gardens exist, but none focus on food insecure individuals or include a curriculum of basic gardening and nutrition skills. Utah State University’s Food $ense and Master Gardener programs partnered together to create a community gardening program targeting low-income families in Cache Valley, Utah. The Create Farm Fresh Gardens program was developed with the aim of improving levels of food security through increased access to fresh vegetables and improved feelings of self-efficacy in regard to gardening and nutrition among participants. The Create Farm Fresh Gardens program was piloted in Cache Valley, Utah during the 2018 growing season and received supportive feedback from participants. The program will be implemented throughout the state of Utah during the 2019 growing season.

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