There's a sudden acknowledgement of the importance of organic food sans chemical products for maintaining sound health. Health issues including malnutrition can be caused due to adulterated food or just by insufficient supply of any food. Food is mostly cultivated in rural areas, that takes a lot of time to reach us and may lose some of its potency and nutritional value in transit. Considering this factor, a newly conducted study has come up with a suggestion that urban agriculture may be the answer to the problems of food insecurity and sub-par health status. The study that was published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour, recommends prompting home gardening, assisted by nutritional education to overcome all food and health related problems.
Researchers from the University of California at San Francisco joined hands with Valley Verde, a community-based urban garden organisation in Santa Clara County, California. The aim was to study the concept and outcome of education-enhanced urban home gardening.
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“Urban gardens may improve health for populations at high cardiometabolic risk by altering the community or household environment to provide a sustainable source of fresh fruits and vegetables, opportunities for physical activity, and stress reduction, in line with the Social-Ecological Model of health behavior change. Although several models of urban gardening exist, community gardens have received the most attention as a form of community development, environmental stewardship, and, more recently, health promotion,” said lead author Kartika Palar, PhD, Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.
A total of 32 Hispanic and Latinos were roped in the Valley Verde's gardening program for one year. They were provided with 10 monthly workshops, imparting them with the knowledge, gardening skills and tools required to grow their own organic vegetable gardens. They were also helped with strategies to increase vegetable, fruit and whole-grain intake; healthy shopping strategies; and also healthy recipes.
Kartika Palar added, ‘‘Qualitative research on home-based urban gardening programs is important to illuminate how participants perceive the health benefits and acceptability of such programs, which can inform future intervention development and the formation of hypotheses to be tested in quantitative research.”
At the end of the study, the participants reported improved physical and mental health with reduced disease risk. They owed it all to increased food access, consumption of unadulterated, organic and fresh foods directly from their own home gardens.