Feds Spend $499K To Study Children's Farm Trips

Eric Scheiner | May 30, 2017
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(photo: wikipedia commons)


Which will have the biggest impact on children and result in their parents purchasing local farm products: 

  • Family visits to the farm?
  • School field trips to the farm? 
  • Or school visits to the farm as part of the lesson plan?

The government is funding research that may answer the question.

A whopping $499,536 in taxpayer money has been granted by the USDA to a North Carolina University study, “Strengthening Local Food Systems Through Children: The Role of Agritourism in Agricultural Literacy and Purchasing Behaviors of Local Foods.”

According to the project description, information for the study will be gathered in a variety of ways:

(1) Recruited families (unstructured agritourism) will be surveyed at the beginning of their farm visit (pre-visit). They will be offered a $5 gift certificate as incentive to complete the post-visit survey at the end of their farm visit.

(2) Students and parents (semi-structured and structured agritourism) will be surveyed with teachers' assistance. We will ask teachers to administer pre-surveys to their students and their parents before (pre-test) and after (post-test) FLP (Food, Land and People) curricular activities are imparted. Students will be assigned a non-identifying code to link their pre- and post-survey scores, and parents will be assigned similar codes that will also link their responses to those of their child.

Experimental Design (Semi-structured and Structured Agritourism) Teachers will be randomly assigned to one of three groups: Structured (FLP + farm visit), Semi-structured (Farm visit only), and Control (no treatment during evaluation phase); students will be placed according to their teachers' placement.

The research project is slated to kick off this September and continue through August of 2021.

“Research objectives seek to measure the extent to which agritourism increases agricultural literacy and promotes purchasing intention of local agricultural products among upper elementary students and their parents,” according to the grant summary.

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