The central elements of the farm-to-fork project were undertaken in St. Kitts-Nevis, and the research sought to transform the existing national universal school lunch program into a viable market opportunity for local smallholder farmers, while serving as a vehicle for improving nutrition outcomes and contributing to obesity prevention in children. The three pillars of the farm to fork school feeding project compromised :
1) agricultural productivity and diversity;
2) procurement of locally grown produce from small holder farmers; and
3) children’s consumption of nutritious school lunch meals based on improved menus redesigned to include enhanced portions of the locally farmed vegetables and fruits.
Results showed that children receiving the nutritionally improved lunch meal consumed more fruits and vegetables, and smallholder farmers benefited economically from access to new markets.
Two key lessons emerged from the findings of the “farm-to-fork” project:
1) Bringing about dietary and behaviour change to improve health outcomes is a significant challenge, but such change is possible through institutional collaboration and commitment, and improvements to existing food systems;
2) Significant barriers to tackling obesity and food insecurity in CARICOM include limited community engagement and knowledge sharing among stakeholders, militating against trust and relationship building.