Youth Awareness and Nutrition: Real Fruits and Vegetables = Real Results

Educating youth on the relevance of agriculture to their daily lives is imperative to food security, as these future adults will be faced with land use decisions which call upon their perception of the value of agriculture. Though their food comes first from a farm, without opportunity to connect, students are often ignorant of their reliance on farms for food. Polk County, Florida, is fortunate to have abundant agriculture, yet many students, particularly those in urban areas, are unaware of the importance of agriculture to their daily lives. In 2011, Agrifest, a long standing agricultural awareness program for Polk County fourth graders, incorporated a new station to improve student perception of fruits and vegetables and increase the likelihood they would risk trying new ones. The station, highlighting the diversity and scope of Florida farms, emphasized the importance and excitement of eating fruits and vegetables using two enormous displays of more than 40 different kinds of real fruits and vegetables. More than 6,000 students experienced, touched and smelled new fruits and vegetables as a result of the Florida Farms station from 2011-2012. Teacher surveys showed the station was educationally relevant (80%, n= 82) and improved student awareness of Florida grown agricultural products (87%, n= 47). More than half of the teachers (53%, n=47) thought students were more likely to try new fruits and vegetables following the experience.

Patterson-Andrews, Hazel
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Conference Paper/ Presentation
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978-976-634-013-1 (Other)
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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-23

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