Harvesting health: exploring the health promotion benefits of a backyard garden sharing project for vulnerable populations




Blake, Analisa

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Health promotion identifies health as a resource for daily living and emphasizes the reciprocal relationship between people and their environments in creating health (MacDonald, 2002). In this thesis. I explore how community gardening programs can be used to improve the health and well being of vulnerable populations by creating positive changes within their physical and social environments. Furthermore, I address how community gardens can educate and empower these populations to live healthier lifestyles. My research is based on the creation and exploration of a project in Victoria. BC, where homeowners share their backyard vegetable gardens with volunteer gardeners. It is a small-scale qualitative study in the tradition of ethnographic research where the aim is to enhance understanding of phenomena (Johnston, Gregory, Pratt, & Watts. 2000. p. 238). I facilitated the project and monitored the progress of three garden partnerships for six months during Victoria's long growing season in 2005. Using in-depth interviews and participant observation techniques. I was able to come to a deeper understanding of the participants' experience of the project. This thesis addresses how the project may have promoted their health and well-being with specific reference to physical, psychological and social health and well-being. Suggestions for improvements for future application of the project are also provided.



community gardens, health aspects, Victoria, British Columbia