Identifying Indicators of Readiness and Capacity for Implementing Farm-to-School Interventions


Lee, E.; Smathers, C.; Zubieta, A.C.; Ginnetti, S.; Shah, A.; Freedman, D.A.


BACKGROUND: Farm-to-school interventions are recommended strategies to improve dietary behaviors among school-aged children. Tools are needed to assess community readiness and capacity to optimize farm-to-school implementation. The objective of this study was to identify and prioritize factors to inform tailored farm-to-school implementation by practitioners working in diverse contexts. METHODS: Practitioners and community residents (N = 194) participated in semistructured interviews (N = 18) and focus groups (N = 23). Thematic analysis was conducted to identify themes and subthemes influencing farm-to-school implementation. The subthemes were operationalized into measureable indicators. The themes and their associated indicators were prioritized through a consensus conference with an expert panel (N = 18). RESULTS: The qualitative data analysis and consensus conference yielded 4 themes and 17 indicators associated with community readiness and capacity to implement farm-to-school. The themes represent school capacity, networks and relationships, organizational and practitioner capacity, and community resources and motivations. CONCLUSIONS: Findings highlight a range of indicators of community readiness and capacity needed to support farm-to-school implementation. Results offer guidance for tailoring intervention delivery based on levels of community, school, practitioner, and organizational readiness and capacity. © 2019 The Authors. Journal of School Health published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of American School Health Association.