Exploring school foodservice directors' intentions to implement farm-to-school procurement methods considering food safety practices

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Curwood, Sandra
Major Professor
Susan W. Arendt
Lakshman Rajagopal
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Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management

The Department of Apparel, Education Studies, and Hospitality Management provides an interdisciplinary look into areas of aesthetics, leadership, event planning, entrepreneurship, and multi-channel retailing. It consists of four majors: Apparel, Merchandising, and Design; Event Management; Family and Consumer Education and Studies; and Hospitality Management.

The Department of Apparel, Education Studies, and Hospitality Management was founded in 2001 from the merging of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Studies; the Department of Textiles and Clothing, and the Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management.

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2001 - present

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  • College of Human Sciences (parent college)
  • Department of Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Studies (predecessor)
  • Department of Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management (predecessor)
  • Department of Textiles and Clothing (predecessor)
  • Trend Magazine (student organization)

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This study explored school foodservice directors’ knowledge and behavioral beliefs regarding food safety practices in farm-to-school (F2S) programs and normative and perceived behavioral control in using alternative produce procurement methods. Alternative procurement methods are used in F2S programs to purchase produce directly from regional growers for use in school foodservice programs. Food safety has been perceived as a barrier to implementation of F2S procurement practices (Conner, King, Koliba, Kolodinsky, & Trubek, 2011).

A web-based questionnaire was used to explore school foodservice director’s (FSDs) intentions to adopt F2S procurement based on food safety practices. The theory of planned behavior (TPB) (Ajzen, 1985) and the theory of reasoned action (TRA) (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980) were used as theoretical underpinning to examine intentions as predictors of behavior. The questionnaire, developed based on previous literature, was distributed to California school FSDs (n= 864). Analysis was conducted on 136 usable questionnaires (16.4% response rate). Most respondents were female (84.4%), between the ages of 35-64 (82.6%), with a least a bachelors’ degree (60.9%), and four or more years of school foodservice experience (85.2%).

Food safety knowledge results revealed 56.7% of responding FSDs (n= 125-127) answered five or more, of the six total, questions correctly. School FSD demographics did not yield any statistically significant differences in mean knowledge scores.

The findings indicated the TPB (Ajzen, 1985) model did not explain the determinants of intention, as the relationship between control beliefs and perceived behavioral control were not supported. In measuring behavioral beliefs, findings related to food safety in alternative produce procurement had high levels of agreement among school FSDs in their confidence to manage produce safety practices. Results related to normative and perceived behavioral control in using alternative produce procurement practices, indicated that despite willingness, FSD’s capacity and intention to change their process was much weaker. Future studies could include other theoretical models, such as risk avoidance, to identify factors inhibiting school FSD’s control or perceived control. These results would suggest that if implementing alternative produce procurement methods is desirous, it would likely require policy or a mandate, possibly as part of reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act.

Fri Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2016