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ERIC Number: EJ1178060
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1559-5676
Operating School Meal Programs in Rural Districts: Challenges and Solutions
Hoffman, Vanessa; Srinivasan, Mithuna; Levin, Madeleine; Scarmo, Stephanie
Journal of Child Nutrition & Management, v42 n1 Spr 2018
Purpose/Objectives: The goal of this study was to explore unique issues that rural school nutrition professionals face in operating successful school meal programs, and their strategies for overcoming those barriers. Methods: This study was conducted through 10 key informant interviews and three focus groups with rural school nutrition practitioners, researchers, and other stakeholders. Interview and focus group participants were asked about challenges, existing effective practices, and future needs for rural school meal programs. The interview and focus group data were analyzed by thematic coding. Results: Perceived key challenges specific to rural schools were limited administrative capacity, hiring and retaining qualified staff, physical infrastructure limitations, accommodating students with long travel times to school, and limited food supply purchasing options. Perceived existing practices considered effective included purchasing cooperatives, peer support, community collaboration, inventive serving strategies, and training and technical assistance. Applications to Child Nutrition Professionals: Our research identified consensus on effective practices that can address challenges to operating successful meal programs in rural school districts. Practices that could be adapted by other rural school meal programs include joining purchasing cooperatives, accessing peer network support, increased staff training and technical assistance, inventive food delivery strategies, obtaining additional funds for equipment through catering and other means, and flexible meal schedules.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A