I’m a strong advocate of food systems education. In the future I would love to provide schools with fresh, healthy food. Children, teenagers, and adults should be familiar with the process of getting food from a farm, to their kitchen. One day, I envision myself educating high school students about the health and economic benefits of local agriculture. Some schools are starting farm to school programs, which provide students locally grown food during meals. I truly believe reducing the amount of processed foods and increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables (especially fresh, local) in students’ diets will raise grades, and overall health and attitude. This in turn will help create an efficient learning environment.
Collecting data from students can expose their lifestyle choices and eating habits. This allows teachers and parents to identify issues, and begin to resolve any health problems the students have. Surveying students would be the best way of collecting data about food intake and individual lifestyles. Some lifestyle factors that influence health would be leisure and physical activity, drug and alcohol intake, and food choices. Data could be collected about dietary influences, such as family members or friends, and food preferences. The weight and height of students could be collected as data to determine physical health. Data could also be collected on the attitudes of students; weather students are feeling depressed or lazy during school can directly be caused by inadequate nutrient uptake.
Example survey questions:
What food do you eat the most?
What is your favorite food?
Where to you get your food?
Do you eat raw fruits or vegetables on a daily basis?
Do you eat processed foods on a daily basis?
What have you eaten in the past 24 hours?
Sources such as GIS (geographic information system) which is a mapping system of local grocery stores, farmers markets, community gardens, and emergency food locations can be helpful when determining local food availability/supply. The US Census Bureau posse’s data on income levels in America. This can affect family’s food choices, because healthier food tends to be more expensive. Community Nutrition Mapping Project is part of the USDA and is a system that indicates food and nutrition on a national level. CN map is separated into 5 categories: nutrient uptake, healthy eating patterns, physical activities, body weight, and food security demographics.
There seems to be an understanding that our countries educational system can improve, and the health of our young population needs to improve. I hope to one day supply schools with fresh food, and teach students how to grow food and eat healthy.