The concept of food literacy is an emerging field of investigation:
- Cullen and colleagues suggest that food literacy lies at the intersection of community food security and individual food skills which, when supported, enhances health and well-being across the lifespan (Cullen et al., 2015).
- The Conference Board of Canada connects concerns of population food “deskilling” and the resulting negative impacts on population health and disease (Howard & Brichta, 2013).
- Slatter and colleagues provide a framework in the realm of young adults where three domains represent the competencies for food literacy: Confidence and Empowerment; Joy and Meaning through Food; and Equity and Sustainability for Food Systems (Slatter et al., 2017).
Our research in Phase One of Garden2Plate explored a 12-week garden and nutrition experiential learning program for young children and their primary caregivers. We worked in partnership with a community organization working with low-resource inner-city vulnerable families in a Canadian context.
Our Main Discoveries Included:
- The dyad (family caregiver and child) relationships provided a powerful context for families to make connections that resulted in healthy eating milestones.
- Primary caregivers reported enhanced sense of belonging and connection for themselves as an unexpected and highly valued outcome.
- Recognition and increased vocabulary surrounding plants & vegetables in preschoolers was connected to an increase in willingness ‘to try’ new foods.
You can read more about our discoveries in these research articles:
Lafave, L., Jakubec, S., and Gleeson, J. (2020). Garden2Plate: a 12-week food literacy intervention program for preschoolers in structurally disadvantaged families. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 45(4): S28. https://doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2020-0129.
Lafave, L., Jakubec, S., and Gleeson, J. . Garden2Plate: a 12-week food literacy intervention program for preschoolers in structurally disadvantaged families. Canadian Nutrition Society Conference. https://cns-scn.ca/uploads/c21834006905f00662c53894faae3e57.pdf
Lafave, L., Jakubec, S., Gleeson, J. (2020). Food literacy from garden to plate: A mixed-method study of an outdoor and experiential intervention for preschool children and their caregivers from equity seeking communities. Canadian Congress of Leisure Research, Edmonton, Alberta.
Lafave, L., Hughes, S., Jakubec, S.L., Gleeson, J.,Vuong, J. (2019). Experiential Learning in the Garden2Plate Program to Enhance Child Health, Research and Scholarship Days, Mount Royal University, Calgary, Alberta
Lafave, L., Hughes, S., Jakubec, S.L., Gleeson, J. (2019). Garden to Plate pilot study: a food literacy curriculum to promote healthy eating in preschool children from economically disadvantaged families. International Forum on Health Promotion & Education, Athens, Greece.
Hughes, S., Lafave, L., Jakubec, S.L., Gleeson, J. (2019). Garden2Plate: Promoting Child and Family Health through an Early Learning Gardening and Nutrition Intervention Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities, Vancouver, BC.