Nutrition and Health Improvements After Participation in an Urban Home Garden Program

J Nutr Educ Behav. 2019 Oct;51(9):1037-1046. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2019.06.028.


Objective: To elucidate the perceived health benefits of an urban home gardening and nutritional education program in a population at high cardiometabolic risk.

Design: Qualitative data collected via in-depth, semistructured interviews in Spanish or English.

Setting: Community-based program offering supported urban home gardening together with nutrition education in Santa Clara County, CA.

Participants: A total of 32 purposively sampled low-income participants in an urban home gardening program. Participants were primarily female (n = 24) and Latino/a (n = 22).

Phenomenon of interest: Perceptions of the nutrition and health benefits of education-enhanced urban home gardening.

Analysis: Bilingual researchers coded transcripts using a hybrid inductive and deductive approach. Two coders double coded at intervals, independently reviewed coding reports, organized content into key themes, and selected exemplary quotations.

Results: The most salient perceived impacts were greater food access, increased consumption of fresh produce, a shift toward home cooking, and decreased fast food consumption. Participants attributed these changes to greater affordability, freshness, flavor, and convenience of their garden produce; increased health motivation owing to pride in their gardens; and improved nutritional knowledge. Participants also reported improved physical activity, mental health, and stress management; some reported improved weight and adherence to diabetes-healthy diets.

Conclusions and implications: Education-enhanced urban home gardening may facilitate multidimensional nutrition and health improvements in marginalized populations at high cardiometabolic risk.

Keywords: Latino; health; nutrition; qualitative; urban garden.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diet, Healthy
  • Female
  • Gardening*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status
  • Qualitative Research
  • Urban Population*