Date of Graduation

5-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Geography (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Geosciences

Advisor

Sonja Hausmann

Committee Member

Jennie Popp

Second Committee Member

Fiona Davidson

Keywords

Social sciences; Education; Experience; Knowledge; Literacy; Local; Produce; Students

Abstract

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that adolescents and children, both male and female, are failing to meet the daily fruit and vegetable consumption requirements (Kim et al., 2011; Upton et al., 2012; Harris et al., 2012). Other studies have shown that with increased exposure and availability of produce, students (K-5) tend to consume more fruits and vegetables (Cullen et al., 2009; Evans et al., 2012). The purpose of this study is to identify whether Northwest Arkansas eleventh grade high school students possess experience and knowledge of local produce and agriculture. Out of 1054 students enrolled at the three high schools that participated (Bentonville, Farmington, and Lincoln) 50 students were surveyed. Thus the results are presented as a case study to inform future work.

In this case study, the following results were found:

1. Most students (less than 25%) did not meet the daily fruit and/or vegetable consumptions recommended by the CDC.

2. Students lacked knowledge of where to purchase local produce (38% had proficient knowledge) and how far their food travels (32% of students were aware).

3. Students displayed a strong ability to identify most of the six types of produce and four fast foods depicted in the survey. Students' ability to identify these fruits and vegetables were not affected by most of the experiences, except for the school in which they attended and their gardening experiences.

4. Increased fast food consumption decreased the students' ability to identify places offering local produce for sale.

5. Increased fast food consumption decreased students' awareness of Arkansas' most grown crop.

6. Gender was not found to have a major effect on local produce and agriculture experience, knowledge, and perceptions. However, it was found that male students were more likely to enroll in high school agricultural classes and know how far produce travels on average from the farm to the dinner table. While female students believed that local produce had lesser disadvantages.

This case study is a start to a better understanding of the amount of experience and knowledge of local produce and agriculture within Northwest Arkansas high school students.