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Extension Education

Donna Demorest
Horticulture Extension Agent III
University of Florida/IFAS Extension, Columbia County
Lake City



      School gardens are often used as teaching tools to engage students in meaningful learning activities. To provide students the opportunity of eating healthy produce, many schools are considering the use of student-grown food in their cafeterias. To minimize the risk of illness, students and adults working in school gardens should know about pathogens that can contaminate produce in the field. This program was designed to teach students about microorganisms that cause foodborne illness, how to identify conditions in the field that may increase the risk of contamination, and how to develop and follow procedures that will reduce those risks. During the first session, middle school students learned basic course vocabulary and were assessed during a whole-group matching game. Each 90 minute session was divided into activities that taught concepts building upon previous learned material. Hands-on learning activities included visiting the growing site where existing risk factors were assessed, growing yeast colonies and observing them under the microscope, and developing in-field procedures that they could follow to reduce risk. The average knowledge gain of the 34 participants was 74%, as indicated by pre and post-tests. 100% of the students indicated they would use this knowledge later in life. Due to the feedback and course success, a second presentation was made to teachers representing six different schools on how to incorporate these activities into their own school garden programs. Educating students about foodborne pathogens and risk management will improve the safety of school garden produce and provide students with important life skills.


Poster has NOT been presented at any previous NACAA AM/PIC

This poster is being submitted for judging. It will be displayed at the AM/PIC if not selected as a State winner. The abstract will be published in the proceedings.

A poster file has not been provided

Authors: N. Demorest
  1. Demorest, N. Horticulture Extension Agent II, U.F./I.F.A.S.-Extension, Florida, 32055