Provides youth with hands-on experience planting, harvesting, and learning about fruits and vegetables
Increase in exposure to healthy food choices leads to healthier consumption decisions
Relatively low-cost, high impact intervention that has spread across the nation
Since 1982, the National Gardening Association has given nearly $4 million through 9586 grants, reaching 1.44 million gardeners
Annually, the Home Depot Garden Club gives away $1000 gift cards (5) and $500 gift cards (95) to help build school and/or community gardens
Jamba Juice is giving $500 grants (20) to community gardens that focus on increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables among youth
Bay Area Case Studies
Urban Sprouts has been building gardens in low-income San Francisco school communities since 2003, reaching over 3700 kids
The East Bay Asian Youth Center plans to create at least 10 garden-based nutrition education lessons in a total of 40 class sessions at Bella Vista, Franklin and Garfield elementary schools in Oakland
Alice Water’s Chez Panisse Foundation built a one acre organic garden and kitchen classroom at the MLK Jr. Middle School in Berkeley. The program has impacted over 3000 students and countless educators
Key Empirical Takeaways
Most 5-15 year olds demonstrated significantly higher fruit and vegetable consumption patterns after gardening
One study reported significantly higher Vitamin A, C, and Fiber for gardening vs. control group
Gardening participants were more willing to taste different types of vegetables and in some cases, reported higher preference levels post-test
Varying degrees of increase in nutritional knowledge (from identification of food type to understanding benefits)
Impact on Home Environment
Children asking parents for more fruits and vegetables after gardening, leading to an increase in the availability of healthy food
Literature: 12 Peer-reviewed journal articles from 2001-2011
What is the ideal duration/composition of program?
What is the marginal utility of additional weeks?
What is the optimal structure in terms of gardening activities/duration?
Impact of dual child-parent gardening + nutrition education on FV consumption and availability in home environment?
After-school program vs. weekend intervention?
Full nutrition adequacy tests (blood tests, etc) for long-term gardening-nutrition education intervention
Are effects of nutrition program dependent on socio-economic status or race?
EHP Project - Overview
Design an effective gardening + nutrition education intervention for low-income East Palo Alto youth (5-15 years old)
Variables of Interest
Fruit and Vegetable consumption (weekly/monthly)
Nutrition Measurements (Vitamin A, C, E, Iron, Calcium, Fiber, etc)
Change in preferences of vegetables and fruits
Age-appropriate knowledge of nutritional requirements
Change in healthy food availability at home/ parent’s purchasing patterns
Child and parent demographics
EHF Project – Study Design
Weekend gardening classes and nutrition classes held at EHF
Free lunch for participants
One group of EPA lower and middle school students with parents vs. control groups without parents
Pre-post survey to gauge fruit and vegetable intake, change in food preferences, knowledge gained after intervention, and change in food purchasing habits by parents
Dietary recall book and surveys previously used by other studies
Baseline at start of program, Post-experiment survey at 12 weeks, and Long term follow-up at 6 months
Urban Sprouts/Edible Schoolyard (curriculum)
Boys & Girls club/ EPA public schools (participants),
Master Gardeners of Santa Clara (gardeners)
National Gardening Association
Home Depot Garden Club ($500-$1000)
Jamba Juice ($500)
Bay Area Nutrition and Physical Activity Collaborative ($500 - $5000)