184682 Planning to build healthy community gardens: What it takes to initiate and sustain such efforts

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Cathy Liles, MPH , School of Rural Public Health, Texas A&M Health Science Center, College Station, TX
Marcia G. Ory, PhD, MPH , Social & Behavioral Health, Texas A&M HSC School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
Kerrie Hora, MS , Center for Community Health Development - Research Core, Texas A&M School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
Brazos Valley Building Healthy Communities Coalition partners suggested that a multi-generational community garden would be a great project to offer new opportunities for physical activity for all ages, access to fresh produce, aesthetic environmental enhancement and increased neighborhood social engagement. This coalition represents diverse partners in six rural and one peri-urban county in Central Texas. Key community partners representing the faith community, city parks/planning departments, schools, law enforcement, extension, master gardeners, and academic sectors were identified and invited to a discovery meeting. At that meeting we learned that although there are many community gardens in the region, most had not been sustainable over time and that there are enormous community resources such as land, water, seeds and plants, fertilizer, expert mentors and volunteer assistance available in the region. Initially a single garden was planned. As a result of our experience/learnings, there was consensus to develop a community garden model that could be utilized by any group in the region. Preference would be given to multi-generational projects. Additionally, a local neighborhood champion and a sustainability plan would be needed to qualify for resources. Available tool kits, others experience and local expertise will be used to develop this model. The model and resources will then be available to any one in the region. We are tilling the soil and planting the seeds of a region wide coalition project that will provide new opportunities for environmental and health benefits and enhance the liveability of our region.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify a community-based project for increasing physical activity among inter-generational participants 2. Identify one barrier to community garden sustainability 3.Describe a model for developing a physical activity intervention that could be adapted for the aging population in rural or suburban areas.

Keywords: Aging, Community

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: MPH doing public health research in Community Health Development, Active Aging, Dissemination, Implementation, CBPR,
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.