Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences

Committee Chair

Melissa Olfert

Committee Member

Nicole Waterland

Committee Member

Amy Root


Objective: To develop a curriculum using evidence based programs to increase gardening skills, cooking competence, and family mealtime for youth (pre and early adolescent years) and their caregiver (dyad pair) using community-based participatory research.


Using the Social Cognitive Theory, an inter-disciplinary team (N=3) including child development, nutrition and horticulture expertise: a curriculum was developed by integrating evidence-based curricula from iCook 4-H, Junior Masters Gardener curriculum Health and Nutrition from the Garden and Essential Elements of 4-H Youth Development Programs, with additional resources from USDA’s My Plate, and garden-based recipes. The community based participatory research approach and process was utilized by inviting expert reviewers (N=11) to provide feedback on the curriculum content, lesson structure, dosage, age appropriateness and balance of the three focused areas which include gardening, cooking, and family meal time. Expert review feedback was collected in a survey of closed-ended and open-ended questions using Qualtrics ©. Focus groups with family dyads (youth n=6 and adults n=5) were also collected to elicit understanding of need, interest, barriers and potential engagement of the program based on the three focused areas.


A 10 week curriculum was developed and titled: iGrow. The approach is a hands-on, learn by doing and having fun through five, 2-hour sessions for a family dyad pair (youth and parent), which includes: gardening, cooking, and family conversation and interaction. A leader guide was developed that included handouts, recipes, and activities for each session with a goal to further develop a workbook. Weekly goal sheets were designed for youth and the primary food preparer caregiver to use for reinforcement of specific lesson objectives. The expert reviews and focus group feedback was analyzed and incorporated into the iGrow curriculum in order to meet both expert-level content and family dyad lessons and activities.

Conclusions and Implications:

Feedback from content and development expert review guided the revisions of the curriculum along with feedback from focus group dyad pairs from target audience which further enhanced the approach and balance of the curriculum content. Focus group feedback supported the appropriateness, dosage, learning objectives and content depth. Providing knowledge of gardening followed by culinary skills using the harvest that would be taken from the plant is expected to lead to increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, increase family time together focused on skill building to impact healthy goals in the family unit. Future research will pilot test the delivery of the iGrow curriculum on the target population.

Included in

Nutrition Commons