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Description and Benefits Community gardens are accessible to a range of community members, usually located on public land or at a community service organisation. Their form is usually designed around the community’s desires and needs, but can take the form of a series of plots which are then used by a family or other group. Urban community gardens may improve dietary intake and improved access to fruit and vegetables (Joan Twiss et al., September 2003). Garden-based learning programs, an alternative approach to traditional nutrition education, are becoming increasingly popular. There is yet little research that assesses the outcomes of these school garden programs (Ozer, 2006) but emerging evidence from a few small studies suggests that they: • improve young children’s willingness to try new vegetables (Morris, 2001) • increase the level of students’ nutritional knowledge (Viola, 2006) • increase consumption of fruits and vegetables in young people (McAleese, 2007; Lautenschlager and Smith, 2007). Addressing social inequalities in physical activity will require improving access to and the number of recreational facilities in disadvantaged areas, implementing programs aimed at enhancing social networks supportive of physical activity, and providing education and skill development for individuals (Kavanagh et al., 2005, Giles-Corti and Donovan, 2003). Community gardens are one mechanism to meet these objectives. Action to enhance support networks for physical activity are needed in identified areas of disadvantage in Victoria, particularly Neighbourhood and Community Renewal Sites (Wood et al., 2003). Community-based social support interventions that recruit residents into voluntary groups (e.g. walking groups, gardening groups) are effective in increasing physical activity (Kahn et al., 2002). When creating a community garden there are two approached that can be taken, bottom up or top down. The bottom up approach consists of a small group of people joining together, planning the garden, approaching local council or other authority, finding land and then cultivating it (Grayson and Campbell, 2002). The top-down approach consists of professional individuals, such as, community workers and local government having the idea of and becoming interested in community gardens. From a professional point of view the community gardens may be to build or improve a sense of community or to improve the nutrition of the people they work with. A top-down approach may sometimes be easier that a bottom-up approach as existing contacts with government, schools, churches or other organisations may assist in the process of obtaining land and funding. To assist a top-down approach in working the professional individuals may want to help raise funding for the project and to employ a gardening co-ordinator. With a top-down approach, being someone else’s idea it has to be targeted to the group they believe will use the garden. This may or may not always be successful and may take some time in doing. Patience and persistence will be required to build support for the garden within the community (Grayson and Campbell, 2002).
Size and distribution of the problem General data about physical activity (including available data for Gippsland) can be found at http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/275845/PhysicalActivity.pdf and data about health eating (including available data for Gippsland) can be found at http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/276296/HealthyEating.pdf
Leadership A range of agencies could lead the development of a community garden.
Suggested Partners • • • • Council for provision of a coordinator, access to land, provision of public liability insurance, financial support, and support with garden design and development. Other land owners/managers to gain access to land. Community groups for participation and value adding (eg. art groups) Local businesses (eg. nurseries)
Resources for Implementation Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network www.communitygardens.org.au and in particular their starting a community garden guide by (Grayson and Campbell) at http://www.communitygarden.org.au/start/making.html. Community Garden Start-Up Guide, (GardenWorks, 2007)Minneapolis, USA http://www.gardenworksmn.org/Resources/startupguide.pdf (Australian Community Foods) http://www.communityfoods.org.au/ (Botanic Gardens Trust) http://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/education/community_greening Last updated: 24 February 2009 Page 1 of 3
available at: http://www.burlingtongardens.org/Community_%20Garden_CaseStudies.pdf (Kingsley and Townsend) (2006) ''Dig in to social capital: Community gardens as mechanisms for growing urban social connectedness', Urban Policy and Research., vol. 24, no. 4, p. 525. (Bellows. AC et al., 2008) Health benefits of urban agriculture Community Food Security Coalition. Available from: http://www.foodsecurity.org/pubs.html#healthurbanag. (North Carolina State University, 2007) Resource materials Available at: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/garden/CommunityGarden/tools.html
Evaluation Tools Methods for measurement of impacts such as levels of physical activity are described at http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/275861/PhysicalActivity.pdf and methods for measuring levels of consumption of fruit and vegetables are described at http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/276532/HealthyEating.pdf (North Carolina State University, 2007) community gardens resource materials http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/garden/CommunityGarden/tools.html and specifically http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/garden/CommunityGarden/Healthy%20Lifestyle%20Education.doc. This questionnaire is designed to collect data on intervention participants at multiple points in time – but for the intervention group only. It is worth considering whether you can also collect data from a control group. Community Gardens also bring other social benefits and you may wish to measure some indicators of community strength depending on your objectives.
References Australian Community Foods (2007) Find local foos organisations in your state: Community Gardens. Accessed on. http://www.communityfoods.org.au/ Bellows. AC, Brown. K & Smit. J (2008) Health benefits of urban agriculture. Community Food Security Coalition's North American Initiative on Urban Agriculture. http://www.foodsecurity.org/pubs.html#healthurbanag Botanic Gardens Trust Community Greening Program. Department of Environment and Climate Change NSW, Accessed on. http://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/education/community_greening Brundige, M. E. & Curtiss, S. E. (2005) Four Community Garden Case Studies. University of Vermont School of Natural Resources, Accessed on. http://www.burlingtongardens.org/Community_%20Garden_CaseStudies.pdf GardenWorks (2007) Twin Cities Community Garden Start-up Guide. http://www.gardenworksmn.org/Resources/startupguide.pdf Giles-Corti, B. & Donovan, R. (2003) Relative influence of individual, social environmental, and physical environmental correlates of walking. American Journal of Public Health, 93, 1583-1589. Grayson, R. & Campbell, F. (2002) Planning and starting your community garden Network, A. C. F. a. C. G., Accessed on. http://www.communitygarden.org.au/start/making.html Joan Twiss, MA, Joy Dickinson , BS, CHES, Shirley Duma , MA , Tanya Kleinman , BA , Heather Paulsen, MS & Liz Rilveria. MPA ( September 2003) Community Gardens: Lessons Learned From California Healthy Cities and Communities. American Journal of Public Health 93, 1435-1438. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/picrender.fcgi?artid=1447988&blobtype=pdf Kahn, E., Ramsey, L., Brownson, R., Heath, G., Howze, E., Powell, K., Stone, E., Rajab, M. & Corso, P. ( 2002) The effectiveness of interventions to increase physical activity: A systematic review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine., 22, 73-107. Kavanagh, A., Goller, L., King, T., Jolley, D., Crawford, D. & Turrell, G. (2005) Urban area disadvantage and physical activity: a multilevel study in Melbourne, Australia. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 59, 934-940. Kingsley, J. & Townsend, M. (2006) Dig into social capital: Community gardens as mechanisms for growing urban social connectedness. Urban Policy and Research, 24, 525. Lautenschlager, L. & Smith, C. (2007) Understanding gardening and dietary habits among youth garden program participants using the Theory of Planned Behavior. Appetite, 49, 122-30.
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McAleese, J., Rankin, LL, (2007) Garden-based nutrition education affects fruit and vegetable consumption in sixthgrade adolescents. Journal Of The American Dietetic Association, 107, 662-5. Morris, J., Neustadter, A & Zidenberg-Cherr, S, (2001) First-grade gardeners more likely to taste vegetables. California Agriculture, 56, 43-6. North Carolina State University (2007) Resource Materials. Accessed on. http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/garden/CommunityGarden/tools.html Ozer, E. J. (2006) The Effects of School Gardens on Students and Schools: Conceptualization and Considerations for Maximizing Healthy Development. University of California-Berkeley. http://www.growingcommunities.org.au/LITG%20DOCUMENTS/school%20gardens%20health%20education%20behav .pdf Viola, A. (2006) Evaluation of the Outreach School Garden Project: Building the capacity of two Indigenous remote school communities to integrate nutrition into the core school curriculum. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 17, 233 - 239. http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?index=0&did=1392222991&SrchMode=2&sid=1&Fmt=6&VInst=PROD&VType=PQD &RQT=309&VName=PQD&TS=1227057771&clientId=65280 Wood, B., Swinburn, B. & Burns, C. (2003) Food security and eating well for all in Victoria. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr, 12 Suppl, S17. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=15023609
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