248284 Harvest of Hope: A Community-Academic Partnership to Develop and Evaluate a Church Garden Project

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Reverend William Kearney , Coley Springs Missionary Baptist Church, Warrenton, NC
Molly M. De Marco, PhD, MPH , Center for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Meredith Robbins , Center for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Robin Crowder , Center for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Alice Ammerman, DrPH, RD , Nutrition, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
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, initiated a garden project, and sought a partnership with UNC-Chapel Hill to study how garden participation might address these issues. Together, we applied for and received funding. 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 food alienation. 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. Faith communities can reduce those barriers. For example, participants come to the church already thereby increasing the likelihood of attendance. Other barriers, however, can still be present.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1) Identify the key features of a church garden project. 2) Summarize the impact of the garden and associated activities on fruit and vegetable intake and attitudes, and BMI 3) Discuss the benefits and challenges of working within a faith community to implement a successful garden project.

Keywords: Food and Nutrition, Faith Community

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I conceived of this project and helped to develop the protocols and carry out the project. I am a community researcher and helped to develop several University of North Carolina community-based participatory research partnerships with churches in my community. Also, I serve as a community expert in the UNC Community Engagement Leadership and Reciprocal Development Research Project. My passion is to help build the capacity of the faith community so it can actively engage in community-based participatory research partnerships addressed at finding and implementing solutions to health disparities, hunger, political, and environmental issues found in rural North Carolina.
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.