Feasibility of an experiential community garden and nutrition programme for youth living in public housing

Karissa Grier, Jennie L. Hill, Felicia Reese, Constance Covington, Franchennette Bennette, Lorien Macauley, Jamie Zoellner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objective Few published community garden studies have focused on low socio-economic youth living in public housing or used a community-based participatory research approach in conjunction with youth-focused community garden programmes. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the feasibility (i.e. demand, acceptability, implementation and limited-effectiveness testing) of a 10-week experiential theory-based gardening and nutrition education programme targeting youth living in public housing. Design In this mixed-methods feasibility study, demand and acceptability were measured using a combination of pre- and post-programme surveys and interviews. Implementation was measured via field notes and attendance. Limited-effectiveness was measured quantitatively using a pre-post design and repeated-measures ANOVA tests. Setting Two public housing sites in the Dan River Region of south central Virginia, USA. Subjects Forty-three youth (primarily African American), twenty-five parents and two site leaders. Results The positive demand and acceptability findings indicate the high potential of the programme to be used and be suitable for the youth, parents and site leaders. Field notes revealed numerous implementation facilitators and barriers. Youth weekly attendance averaged 4·6 of 10 sessions. Significant improvements (P<0·05) were found for some (e.g. fruit and vegetable asking self-efficacy, overall gardening knowledge, knowledge of MyPlate recommendations), but not all limited-effectiveness measures (e.g. willingness to try fruits and vegetables, fruit and vegetable eating self-efficacy). Conclusions This community-based participatory research study demonstrates numerous factors that supported and threatened the feasibility of a gardening and nutrition programme targeting youth in public housing. Lessons learned are being used to adapt and strengthen the programme for future efforts targeting fruit and vegetable behaviours.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2759-2769
Number of pages11
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number15
StatePublished - Nov 14 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Community-based participatory research
  • Feasibility studies
  • Gardening
  • Health status disparities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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