Food security is a fundamental element of community health. Informal house-lot food growing, by providing convenient access to diverse varieties of affordable and nutritious produce, can provide an important support for community food security. In this exploratory assessment of the contribution home food gardening makes to community food security, in-depth interviews were conducted with gardeners in two contrasting neighborhoods in Toronto, Canada. A typology of food gardeners was developed, and this qualitative understanding of residential food production was then assessed from a community food security perspective. It was found that growing food contributes to food security at all income levels by encouraging a more nutritious diet. The sustainability of household food sourcing and gardeners’ overall health and well-being also increased with food production. Secure access to suitable land to grow food and gardening skills were the most significant barriers found to residential food production.
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While animal husbandry could plausibly occur as part of home food production, there are numerous restrictions on the production of food from animals in many North American cities, and as a result animal farming in the city is rare and often illicit.
Pseudonyms are used to refer to the gardeners interviewed.
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We thank the participants in this study for sharing their experiences and opening their gardens to us. Our thanks also go to the Centre for Urban Health Initiatives for its generous financial support, and to Saron Ghebressellassie, the project research assistant, for her hard work and good company.
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Kortright, R., Wakefield, S. Edible backyards: a qualitative study of household food growing and its contributions to food security. Agric Hum Values 28, 39–53 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10460-009-9254-1
- Home gardening
- Household food production
- Urban agriculture
- Community food security