Term of Award

Fall 2018

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health (Dr.P.H.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


College of Public Health

Committee Chair

Andrew Hansen

Committee Member 1

Bettye Apenteng

Committee Member 2

Juliann McBrayer

Committee Member 3

Rebecca Larson

Committee Member 3 Email



Introduction: Childhood obesity is a growing public health problem. In the US, over 13.7 million children are obese. Specifically in Georgia, childhood obesity among children between ages 10 – 17 is the 8th highest in the nation. Rural Georgia has disproportionately higher rates of overweight and obesity than urban areas of Georgia. Schools are an ideal venue through which to address childhood obesity because many US children consume up to half of their daily calories at school. The aim of this research was to determine the facilitators and barriers to implementing farm to school activities from the perspective of school nutrition directors (SNDs) working in rural Georgia county school districts. Methods: This study included secondary data abstraction of Golden Radish Awards applications and telephone interviews with school nutrition directors using semi-structured interview guides. This qualitative study applied a Grounded Theory approach and was framed within the context of the Contingency Theory of Leadership and Socioecological model. Results: A total of 20 Golden Radish Award applications were sampled, and 19 school nutrition directors from across the state of Georgia were interviewed. Internal (i.e., organizational level) factors to implementing farm to school activities were uncovered as were external (i.e., community and policy level) factors. Discussion: Farm to school activities are being implemented throughout rural Georgia despite geographic differences. Public school-university partnerships may help provide additional staff to implement farm to school. Additionally, more support and training for teachers and local farmers may be needed in order to increase implementation throughout the state.

Research Data and Supplementary Material


Available for download on Tuesday, November 14, 2023