Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management


Hospitality Management

First Advisor

Susan W. Arendt

Second Advisor

Lakshman Rajagopal


This study explored school foodservice directors’ knowledge and behavioral beliefs regarding food safety practices in farm-to-school (F2S) programs and normative and perceived behavioral control in using alternative produce procurement methods. Alternative procurement methods are used in F2S programs to purchase produce directly from regional growers for use in school foodservice programs. Food safety has been perceived as a barrier to implementation of F2S procurement practices (Conner, King, Koliba, Kolodinsky, & Trubek, 2011).

A web-based questionnaire was used to explore school foodservice director’s (FSDs) intentions to adopt F2S procurement based on food safety practices. The theory of planned behavior (TPB) (Ajzen, 1985) and the theory of reasoned action (TRA) (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980) were used as theoretical underpinning to examine intentions as predictors of behavior. The questionnaire, developed based on previous literature, was distributed to California school FSDs (n= 864). Analysis was conducted on 136 usable questionnaires (16.4% response rate). Most respondents were female (84.4%), between the ages of 35-64 (82.6%), with a least a bachelors’ degree (60.9%), and four or more years of school foodservice experience (85.2%).

Food safety knowledge results revealed 56.7% of responding FSDs (n= 125-127) answered five or more, of the six total, questions correctly. School FSD demographics did not yield any statistically significant differences in mean knowledge scores.

The findings indicated the TPB (Ajzen, 1985) model did not explain the determinants of intention, as the relationship between control beliefs and perceived behavioral control were not supported. In measuring behavioral beliefs, findings related to food safety in alternative produce procurement had high levels of agreement among school FSDs in their confidence to manage produce safety practices. Results related to normative and perceived behavioral control in using alternative produce procurement practices, indicated that despite willingness, FSD’s capacity and intention to change their process was much weaker. Future studies could include other theoretical models, such as risk avoidance, to identify factors inhibiting school FSD’s control or perceived control. These results would suggest that if implementing alternative produce procurement methods is desirous, it would likely require policy or a mandate, possibly as part of reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act.


Copyright Owner

Sandra Chapman Curwood



File Format


File Size

190 pages