An applied research project at Holland College will investigate the level of food insecurity for post-secondary students across Prince Edward Island to determine the causes and develop policies to combat the problem and improve students’ eating habits.
The project, which is funded by the provincial Department of Health and Wellness through a Health Promotion Impact Grant, and the Holland College President’s Innovation Fund, will include students in all 13 of the college’s campuses and centres to determine the barriers they may face when attempting to access affordable, nutritious food.
The Holland College Student Union; the International Office; and Canada’s Smartest Kitchen, the research arm of The Culinary Institute of Canada, will participate in the project, along with students in the Practical Nursing program.
Debra Smith, the lead researcher on the project and an instructor in the college’s Practical Nursing program, said the research will benefit post-secondary students across the country.
"This research will provide us with a foundation of information to help guide policy and initiatives at Holland College, and we will share the information with other post-secondary institutions through Colleges Institutes Canada and Springboard Atlantic." ~ Debra Smith, lead researcher and Practical Nursing instructor
“With so many campuses and centres across the Island, in both rural and urban locations, we will be able to gather information that will help us determine if the barriers students encounter differ depending on their location.”
Students in the program will run an awareness campaign to encourage participation and will participate in the research activities. Following the collection of information through the survey, the research team will bring together focus groups to identify and confirm perceived barriers and explore the overall level of food insecurity across the college.
Natalie Mitton, the college vice president who oversees applied research, said the students’ participation in projects such as this is valuable.
“Applied Research projects give our students the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge research while they are still in college. The experience strengthens their skills and deepens their knowledge, which will serve them well when they enter the workforce,” she said.
The research team will compile and interpret the results of the survey and develop recommendations based on the findings. The report will be released this spring.
In this picture: Practical Nursing instructor Debra Smith, centre, reviews the questions her research team will use for the food insecurity project with first-year students Becca Rhynes, left, and Mary Ann MacMaster.
For more information about this release, please contact:
Sara Underwood, Media and Communications Officer
Date: Thursday, January 23, 2020