Exploration of Learning Goals and Learning Outcomes in Two Community Kitchens in Seattle
Sennhauser, Sylvia K.
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Background: Community kitchens (CK) are associated with increases in nutrition knowledge, cooking skills, social support, self-efficacy, empowerment, and food security. While interconnected functions of CK have been explored, a distinct paucity of published studies remains, especially in the US, and little is known on CK in the context of job training. The aims of this study were to describe CK as settings for training, and specifically, the goals of the participants, and the degree of achievement of learning outcomes across four types of CK participants within their respective CK. Methods: This descriptive study employed a mixed methods approach for a secondary data analysis. CK managers asked participants to complete surveys. Survey data were de-identified and provided to UW researchers. Data from four groups of CK participants within two CK located in Seattle were analyzed: (1) A Community Kitchen at Seattle Pacific University (SPU), connected to an undergraduate nutrition program at a university setting, engaged nutrition student volunteers in the management of a CK geared toward low-income neighborhood community participants; and (2) A Farm-to-Table Community Kitchen Training (F2T) used the CK format to conduct career development trainings for Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) professionals and recently incarcerated, transitioning adults (Career Bridge). Results: Data were included from 126 community participants and 34 students from SPU. F2T data included 46 participants from 3 groups of ECEAP professionals, and 53 male and female Career Bridge participants. Learning goals for community participants at SPU centered on cooking skills and new recipes. Learning outcomes for student volunteers were in line with the train-the-trainer model, which prepares trainees to open subsequent CK of their own. Both participant groups at SPU reported interdependent and positive experiences in terms of community, social support, and new recipes. At F2T perceived learning gains were higher for Career Bridge participants than for ECEAP participants. Nutrition knowledge, self-efficacy, and cooking skill learning outcomes varied by participant group, gender and amount of training sessions attended. Conclusion: CK are a versatile and feasible way to meet a variety of social and learning goals across diverse settings.
- Nutritional sciences