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Insight from the Public on Home Economics and Formal Food Literacy

Authors


  • Authors’ Note: Donna Pendergast is the Head and Dean at School of Education and Professional Studies, Griffith University. Susanne Garvis is a Lecturer at School of Education and Professional Studies, Griffith University. Harry Kanasa is a Senior Research Assistant at School of Education and Professional Studies, Griffith University. Please address correspondence to Professor Donna Pendergast, School of Education and Professional Studies, Griffith University, Brisbane, Qld, Australia; e-mail: d.pendergast@griffith.edu.au.

Abstract

In 2010, a newspaper article speculating about the inclusion of cooking in the Queensland, Australia, school curriculum was published. Readers were invited to post comments to a newspaper-managed blog. Ninety-seven posts were made. These posts (N = 97) comprise the data for this study. Data were analyzed using Leximancer to determine frequency and connection of terminology. The analysis found “cooking” to be the core concept, connected to either the “school” (formal learning) and/or to the “home” (informal learning). Content analysis determined the themes and their relative frequency. Three main themes were generated: informal food literacy learning, formal food literacy learning in schools, and formal food literacy learning in home economics. Subthemes in the formal food literacy theme included: status (should a home economics course be compulsory?), enjoyment of home economics in school), and gender (with many positive comments from male respondents). The findings of this study represent a first step in understanding the potential contribution of home economics to develop food literacy.

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