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Identifying Urban Immigrant Food-Cultivation Practices for Culturally-Tailored Garden-Based Nutrition Programs


Garden-based nutrition programs are used to address food access and nutrition in low-income communities. In urban immigrant communities, food-growing practices may be shaped by environmental and cultural factors, and may not reflect the assumptions behind these curricula. Built-environment research was adapted to develop a protocol for assessing a community’s gardening practices. A random sample of census blocks was generated and mapped, observational protocols developed, iteratively tested and refined, then fieldworkers trained and deployed. Daily debriefings were conducted to identify challenges in field implementation. Nearly all (93%) sampled blocks contained evidence of food cultivation. Garden structures, land-use patterns, and plant choices reflected cultural preferences, differing substantively from USDA home gardening curricula. This tool successfully identified food-growing practices within an urban immigrant Asian and Pacific Islander community, and provides a replicable methodology for community assessment. Results support the need to culturally-tailor garden-based nutrition programs for urban immigrant populations.

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Correspondence to Opal Buchthal.

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Buchthal, O., Nelson-Hurwitz, D., Hsu, L. et al. Identifying Urban Immigrant Food-Cultivation Practices for Culturally-Tailored Garden-Based Nutrition Programs. J Immigrant Minority Health 22, 778–785 (2020).

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  • Food insecurity
  • Home gardening
  • Nutrition
  • Nutrition education
  • Urban immigrants
  • Filipino
  • Pacific islander
  • Environmental assessment