Document Type


Date of Original Version



Nutrition and Food Sciences


Food safety education for children is important for developing a good foundation for food safety knowledge and behaviors. The overall goal of the Food Safety and School Garden Program (FSSGP) was to develop a curriculum that integrated food safety principles into school garden-related activities for elementary school students. Specific objectives of this study were to assess knowledge and evaluate the FSSGP through student activity ratings and student-to-parent/guardian interaction. The two-lesson intervention consisted of a didactic component and interactive activities for four major aspects of food safety principles: bacteria and washing hands, produce, and containers. Students' (n = 194) knowledge, in grades 1-5, was evaluated by use of a 10-question pre- and post-test. Number of correct responses increased from 5.6 1.8 to 8.1 1.9 (P < .001). Knowledge increased within each grade (P < .001) and category (P < .05). Additionally, the majority of students rated all activities as satisfactory or better. Finally, over 80% of students indicated they would tell their parents/guardians about what they learned, and the majority of parents/guardians responding to a follow-up questionnaire indicated that their child had communicated with them about FSSGP topics. This study supports the importance of early education on proper food safety principles in school gardens for elementary school students.