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242932 Harvest of Hope: Health Benefits and Lessons Learned from a Church Garden Project
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Background: Chronic disease is a leading cause of mortality and African Americans have disproportionately high rates. Existing evidence suggests an association between high fruit and vegetable (F&V) intake and a reduced risk for chronic diseases. Barriers such as cost and availability make it difficult for lower-income populations to consume enough F&V. This study seeks to examine the effects of a community garden on a low-income, rural African American community. Methods: Church leaders identified their congregants' most pressing health issues and initiated a garden project. Church leaders sought a partnership with UNC-Chapel Hill to study how garden participation might address these issues. We collected pre- and post-test data on diet, food alienation, empowerment, and BMI. Food alienation was measured with these scales: attitudes about grocery shopping, gardening history, cooking skills, attitudes about farming, gardening, food production, and F&V. Diet was measured using the Block Brief Food Frequency Questionnaire and empowerment using the Revised Perceived Control Survey. Results: Quantitative results will include whether garden participation was associated with changes in BMI, diet, empowerment, and knowledge and attitudes about F&V. Qualitative results will include lessons learned during project implementation and by working through a community-academic partnership from the perspectives of community and academic partners. Conclusions: The potential benefits of garden participation are numerous, however, project implementation and participant motivation can be challenging. Working in partnership with a faith community can reduce those barriers. For example, participants come to the church already thereby increasing the likelihood of attendance. Other barriers, however, can be present.
Learning Areas:Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Keywords: Community Collaboration, Food and Nutrition
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have developed and implemented all aspects of this project in partnership with church leaders.
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.