A Case Study: Advancing Public Health through Gardens for Healthy Communities (GHC) in New York City: The Role of Anti-obesity Objectives in Urban Agriculture Policy

  • Yolanda GonzalezEmail author
  • Matthew Potteiger
  • Anne Bellows
  • Evan Weissman
  • Carolin Mees


This case study explores the effectiveness of the urban gardening program Gardens for Healthy Communities (GHC) as a public health strategy intended to reverse obesity trends in New York City. The GHC program originated from the Obesity Task Force, a multi-agency work group commissioned by Mayor Bloomberg in 2013 charged with identifying innovative policies to prevent as well as reduce obesity. 18 in-depth interviews with garden advocates and GHC garden members (7 and 11 interviews respectively) reveal that the driving motivation for participating in the selected GHC gardens was less about obesity, specifically, and more about the public health and community development benefits including: a meeting place for civic engagement and environmental awareness, a space for community and health-oriented partnership, and a social bridge to build community cohesion. Through the community right to public space and gardens, the GHC gardens reveal the power of engaging anti-obesity objectives in driving community development and urban agriculture forward.


York City Civic Engagement Urban Agriculture Food Access Community Gardening 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yolanda Gonzalez
    • 1
    Email author
  • Matthew Potteiger
    • 2
  • Anne Bellows
    • 1
  • Evan Weissman
    • 1
  • Carolin Mees
    • 3
  1. 1.Syracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA
  2. 2.SUNY College of Environmental Science and ForestrySyracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA
  3. 3.Mees ArchitectureNew York CityUSA

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