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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis-ISU Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Agriculture

First Advisor

Aslihan Spaulding





In the past few decades, the rates of overweight and obese in the U.S. population have been increasing, creating both health and financial burdens on those afflicted. Studies have shown that diets high in fruits and vegetables promote healthy weight and that increasing this intake in children tends to improve diet choices over a lifetime (Johns Hopkins, 2014). Although recent changes to school lunch programs have required offering a higher percentage of fruits and vegetables, acceptance and consumption of foods that are unfamiliar is lagging. Where they have been used, edible school garden programs have been shown to encourage children to try new foods and have resulted in increased intake of fruits and vegetables (Somerset and Markwell, 2009; Parmer et. al., 2009). Although funding for school gardens is available and resources for incorporation into lesson plans are offered, evidence of the widespread use of these tools in Illinois schools cannot be found. The intent of this study was to determine the barriers to the use of edible gardens as reported by school administrators. Electronic surveys were used to gather data regarding the awareness, perceived benefits, interest in and barriers to establishment of edible school gardens. Administrators from schools with and without edible school gardens were queried. Results indicate that although elementary school principals and superintendents are aware of gardens and their potential benefits to students, many barriers exist that make their use challenging. Funding, staff and volunteer support, and class time were identified as the major barriers. Region affected likelihood of garden use, and community population size also affected the odds of having an edible school garden. Data suggest that edible garden use would increase with provision of resources and organization of dedicated supporters. The results of this study can be used to better understand the current use and obstructions to implementation of gardens in order to determine actions required to encourage their use.


Imported from ProQuest Loftus_ilstu_0092N_10813.pdf


Page Count


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