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
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.
KeywordsYork City Civic Engagement Urban Agriculture Food Access Community Gardening
- Bellows AC, Brown K, Smit J (2003) Health benefits of urban agriculture. Community Food Security Coalition's North American Initiative on Urban Agriculture, PortlandGoogle Scholar
- Mees C, Stone E (2012) Zoned out: the potential of urban agriculture planning to turn against its roots. Cities Environ (CATE) 5(1):7Google Scholar
- New York State parks and recreation. Alienation handbook. http://nysparks.com/publications/documents/AlienationHandbook.pdf
- Stone E (2009) The benefits of community-managed open space: community gardening in New York City. Restorative commons: creating health and well-being through urban landscapes. Gen Tech Rep NRS-P-39. US Department of Agriculture, Newton Square pp 122–137Google Scholar
- Twiss J et al (2003) Community gardens: lessons learned from California healthy cities and communities. J Inf 93(9):1435–1438Google Scholar