A Case Study of a Family Based Intervention for Introducing Sustainable Agriculture into Limited-Income Communities

Open Access
Moschera, Misha Caroline
Graduate Program:
Applied Youth, Family, and Community Education
Master of Education
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
March 30, 2011
Committee Members:
  • Matthew Kaplan, Thesis Advisor
  • family based intervention
  • sustainable agriculture
  • limited-income communities
The overall intent of this study was to learn about effective ways to construct and deliver community gardening/ sustainable agriculture educational programs in limited-income communities. More specifically, a case study was conducted to test the impact of a specific sustainable agriculture education program model that was developed to increase participants’ knowledge of and positive attitudes towards sustainable agriculture and promote the adoption of sustainable practices in their day-to-day lives. A total of 27 youth and adults participated in a six-week summer program, Families Reinforcing Environmentally Sustainable Habits (FRESH). Eight youth were administered pre- and post-quizzes to determine changes in knowledge and attitude with regard to sustainable agriculture, local food systems and nutrition. Four adults were administered a retrospective design survey at the end of the program to measure changes in knowledge, attitude, and behavior. Four weeks after the end of the program, two of the adults who filled out a retrospective design survey were given a follow-up survey to measure sustained change in behavior over time. Due to the expected small sample size, the primary investigator and a research assistant took observational notes throughout the implementation of the program to complement the survey and quiz result data. Results from the survey did not indicate any program impact on adult participants’ knowledge about health and nutrition, food systems and the environment, but did show an increase in attitudes and behaviors related to these general topics. There was some pre- to post- program change in the youth quiz results for questions pertaining to knowledge about food systems and the environment, but overall there was little change in knowledge and attitudes. Positive program-related changes were found in adult participants’ attitudes and behaviors towards health and nutrition, food systems and the environment, and gardening, and in youth attitudes and behaviors towards gardening. These changes were attributed to the aspects of the FRESH program that provided participants with multiple opportunities to discuss and explore the relevance of sustainable agriculture principles to their lives as individuals, family members, and community residents.