Fresh Take Blog

FoodPrints Outcomes Presented at International Conference

Jun. 28, 2023

In the spring of 2022, a team of researchers from the Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (GW) conducted a series of focus groups with 78 current and former FoodPrints students. Their findings pointed to lasting effects of FoodPrints programming on their cooking skills and openness to new foods.

Research on FoodPrints Outcomes Discussed Internationally

On June 15th, GW Ph.D. Candidate Christine St. Pierre presented a poster of the findings from this research at the annual meeting of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA) in Uppsala, Sweden. The conference was attended by more than 1300 researchers, students, and practitioners from approximately 50 countries around the world.

During the poster session, Christie had the opportunity to discuss the themes of FoodPrints program impact that emerged from the focus groups, including how the influence of FoodPrints evolved as alumni moved through adolescence and into young adulthood — something that has rarely been studied for experiential food education programs.

Nine Themes From the Research

The nine emergent themes from the focus groups were categorized into three levels of program impact:

  • Immediate program impact, characterized by enjoyment, hands-on learning, and fostering connection.
  • Beyond the classroom, program participation led to shifts in individual and family food intake, involvement in household food practices, and desire for fresh food options at school.
  • Sustained impact among alumni participants included appreciation for fresh food, openness to trying new foods, and confidence to make informed food choices.

The focus group research provides deeper understanding of FoodPrints student experiences, which can in turn inform both policy and practice for increasing the impact of FoodPrints and similar experiential food education programs both within the U.S. and globally.

Continuation of This Research

The ISBNPA conference provided a global stage for sharing the nature and influence of the FoodPrints program. In the words of one of the participants upon hearing about the research findings, “I’m so glad to know that this program exists!”

These findings can inform the development and refinement of quantitative measurement tools that can be used to assess program impact on a wider scale. FRESHFARM is continuing this evaluation partnership, working with Christie to develop a Food Literacy Competency tool that is built on both the peer-reviewed literature and the findings from these focus groups. The tool has also been refined through the feedback of 4th and 5th grade FoodPrints students who were the first to test the tool. FoodPrints plans to pilot the tool during this year’s summer programming and implement it as a program-wide evaluation tool this fall.


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