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Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC pursues rooted research with a nonprofit, links the many benefits of community gardens

  • Author(s): Bussell, Mirle Rabinowitz
  • Bliesner, James
  • Pezzoli, Keith
  • et al.

The informal economy, healthy food options and alternative urban food systems are interconnected in important ways. To better understand these connections, and explore a rooted university approach to working with communities, we collaborated with the San Diego Community Garden Network to analyze the production, distribution and consumption of produce from eight community gardens in San Diego County. The project engaged UC San Diego researchers and students with county residents and community-based organizations to develop a survey together. Interviews with the gardeners and data from the completed survey document the ways in which community gardens contribute to individual and household health, well-being and community development. They suggest that despite perceptions that community gardens have marginal commercial capacity, they have the potential to contribute in meaningful ways to community development, particularly in low-income neighborhoods.

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