Date of Defense
Date of Graduation
Family and Consumer Sciences
Barriers to nutritious foods and nutrition education impact underserved urban areas throughout the United States. Utilizing garden-based education can provide food and nutrition education while combating lack of green space in urban environments. This curriculum promotes food justice through empowering children with little-no exposure to farms or gardening to become active participants in their local food system. Lesson plans were developed using the Theory of Planned Behavior. This states that an individual’s perception of control over their behavior or situation (self-efficacy), in addition to their attitude toward the subject and the opinions of others, is what ultimately dictates behavior and behavior change. The lesson plans are uniquely tailored to an urban landscape, and specifically highlight unique resources at McLaughlin Grows Urban Farm (Muskegon). The plans are designed so that an older teen or adult can teach young children about where food comes from, pollinators, how plants grow, food forests, and farm tool safety using a hands-on approach to foster self-confidence in the out-of-doors. The curriculum targets urban learners, ages 6-10, who visit the farm throughout the summer. Each lesson plan uses pre- and post-test assessments to evaluate change in knowledge, attitude and self-confidence toward new concepts about fruits and vegetables. Three anticipated behavior change outcomes at the end of curriculum are willingness of participants to try new foods and to consume more fruits and vegetables, and numbers of volunteer teachers who have increased their self-confidence to teach this material.
Johnson, Lauren, "Food Justice: Growing Children through Growing Gardens" (2019). Honors Theses. 3161.