Master of Science (MS)


Plant, Environmental Management and Soil Sciences

Document Type



Americans, especially low-income citizens, do not meet the daily USDA recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption. Low fruit and vegetable intake can be associated with several types of chronic diseases. The dietary patterns established at a young age often carry into adulthood, hence the need for nutrition education beginning in youth. Studies have shown that nutrition education coupled with a gardening program can impact youth's nutrition choices and snack preferences. The Summer Experience was an eight-week garden-based nutrition education program designed to teach gardening, cooking, nutrition, business and life skills for inner-city high school students in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The study subjects were McKinley High School students (n=33), who reside in a primarily low-income, food desert in East Baton Rouge Parish. This study was to determine the impact of the Summer Experience on high school students' knowledge, attitudes, and preferences regarding fruits and vegetables. A three section questionnaire was used to measure students' nutrition knowledge, fruit and vegetable attitudes, and snack preferences. After participation in the program, students' snack preferences significantly improved (p< 0.025), however, there were no differences found in participants' nutrition knowledge (p< 0.187) or attitudes towards fruits and vegetables (p<0.283). The program results suggest that skill building in gardening and cooking may positively impact factors related to the fruit and vegetable intake of inner city high school students.



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Committee Chair

Motsenbocker, Carl