SchoolFood Plus Initiative Program Evaluation
New York, New York (2004-2007)
Market Ventures, Inc., in partnership with Karp Resources and the Center for Health & Public Service Research at New York University, conducted an extensive formative and outcome evaluation of the SchoolFood Plus Initiative, a collaborative, multi-agency effort led by the nonprofit FoodChange to improve the eating habits, health and academic performance of New York City public schoolchildren. With funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Initiative linked school meal reforms by the NYC Department of Education with food, science and culinary education; increased physical activity; youth, community and civic engagement; and procurement of locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables.
The evaluation analyzed the impact of the Initiative’s many elements and examined the coalition development process, as well as provided regular feedback to program developers over a three year period. In 2004, Market Ventures and its team commenced the evaluation process via the collection of background information and baseline data, initial interviews, and development of innovative strategies for testing both student choice of vegetable-based recipes and their consumption of these recipes, as well as their knowledge, attitudes, and behavior about food. Outcome evaluation commenced in Fall 2005, with before/after intervention analyzed over the next two school years in nine schools. The evaluation team also assisted the project partners develop the local procurement aspects of the Initiative, linking the Department of Education’s distributors with potential local sources of fresh foods in New York State. This resulted in the creation of a “public interest broker” role that facilitated sales between regional farmers and the school system.