Community-Engaged Learning in Food Systems and Public Health

  • Julie L. Self Emory University
  • Becky Handforth Emory University
  • Janelle Hartman Emory University
  • Corey McAuliffe Emory Univesity
  • Elizabeth Noznesky Emory University
  • Rebecca J. Schwei Emory University
  • Laura Whitaker Emory University
  • Amanda J. Wyatt Emory University
  • Amy Webb Girard Emory University
Keywords: Food Systems, Food Policy, Public Health, Higher Education

Abstract

Food preferences, systems, and policies influence the health of individuals and communities both directly, through food consumption choices, and indirectly, through environmental, economic, and social impacts. To aid student understanding of these complex determinants of food choice, a student-driven, community-engaged learning course on food systems and food choices was developed. Guided by the socio-ecological model for health and the goals of the Emory Sustainability Initiative and supported by the Center for Community Partnerships (CFCP), the course objectives, curriculum, and activities were determined by the students in collaboration with the faculty advisor and community partners. Two central components of the course were student-led learning modules and community-engaged research on food systems. The four learning modules included: (1) determinants of individual food preference and choice; (2) food and agriculture systems; (3) food access and food justice; and (4) agricultural policy. Community research projects described the role of farmers' markets, community supported agriculture, conventional markets, community gardens, and farm-to-table restaurants in the production and distribution of food in metro Atlanta, with an emphasis on locally produced fruits, vegetables, meats, and milk. Where possible the projects mapped the reach of these distribution models to low-income communities and food deserts, and identified strategies to improve access to healthy food options in these communities. The course culminated in a student-organized symposium for community members and in research reports for community partners. The symposium drew diverse participants, including growers, farmers' market managers, advocacy groups, public-health scientists, policy-makers, students, and academicians. Discussions with symposium participants assisted in refining the research reports for community partners and helped identify strategies and topics for future collaborative efforts and course improvements. A grant from Emory's CFCP facilitated collaboration with community partners, community research, and dissemination of research findings.

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Author Biographies

Julie L. Self, Emory University
Nutrition and Health Sciences Program, Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Emory University; 1462 Clifton Road; Atlanta, Georgia 30322 USA.
Becky Handforth, Emory University
Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University; 1518 Clifton Road; Atlanta, Georgia 30322 USA.
Janelle Hartman, Emory University
Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University; 1518 Clifton Road; Atlanta, Georgia 30322 USA.
Corey McAuliffe, Emory Univesity
Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University; 1518 Clifton Road; Atlanta, Georgia 30322 USA.
Elizabeth Noznesky, Emory University
Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University; 1518 Clifton Road; Atlanta, Georgia 30322 USA.
Rebecca J. Schwei, Emory University
Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University; 1518 Clifton Road; Atlanta, Georgia 30322 USA.
Laura Whitaker, Emory University
Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University; 1518 Clifton Road; Atlanta, Georgia 30322 USA.
Amanda J. Wyatt, Emory University
Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University; 1518 Clifton Road; Atlanta, Georgia 30322 USA.
Amy Webb Girard, Emory University
Nutrition and Health Sciences Program, Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Emory University; 1462 Clifton Road; Atlanta, Georgia 30322 USA; and Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University; 1518 Clifton Road; Atlanta, Georgia 30322 USA.
Published
2012-11-29
How to Cite
Self, J. L., Handforth, B., Hartman, J., McAuliffe, C., Noznesky, E., Schwei, R. J., Whitaker, L., Wyatt, A. J., & Girard, A. W. (2012). Community-Engaged Learning in Food Systems and Public Health. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 3(1), 113–127. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2012.031.006