Ideas for research for Community Gardens/Nutrition
- Subject: [cg] Ideas for research for Community Gardens/Nutrition
- From: Sharon Gordon <email@example.com>
- Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2001 20:20:04 -0400
Here is a copy of what I sent to Ardyth at Cornell for ideas for nutritionally
oriented research ideas involving community gardens. A lot could be learned
by asking some of the same questions in different areas and in areas
where different ethnic/immigrant groups are concentrated. Different growing
conditions would also have an impact on the results.
CG = community garden
1)Servings of vegetables eaten per day pre-CG, during garden season, post
(Do people eat more veggies once they have grown them even though the
over? May be affected by whether they grew enough to preserve some.)
2)Variety of vegetables eaten pre-CG and now. Did they grow and eat things
never had before? Did a fellow gardener give them something new they
tried and liked?
Are they finding out about, growing, eating, foods from other ethnic
they are seeing other gardeners grow?
3) Nutritional analysis of daily eating pre-CG, during garden season, post
4) Are immigrants using the CG to grow foods from their homelands that are
expensive to obtain here? What does their dietary intake look like
with and without this?
5) Is food from the CG helping a soup kitchen or food pantry? How does
the food receiver's diet?
6) Are there times when CGers are hungry? Is hunger avoided during the
7) During the gardening season, do the CGers buy any fruits or vegetables
or do they grow
everything? If some things are bought, what? There was an interesting
in Kenya by someone from Scotland, I think, showing the effects of
They looked at how often people were hungry and number of people who
were able to
grow all their own vegetables pre and post biointensive training. I
have read only a
second hand summary of this. John Jeavons of Ecology Action would
likely have a
8) Which gardens are most productive?
Standard rows and chemicals
standard rows and organic
Results likely to be affected by grower experience and what has
done to the site. Also affected by what is allowed. Some
gardeners can use
the same place from year to year with permanent
plantings. Others get plowed
under and get new spaces every year. (I favor the permanent
plots so the
person reaps the cumulative effect of their work.)
9) Does the garden have pot lucks, tastings, or recipe demos? If so, does
increase nutrition? variety?
10) Don't know if your students want to look at social or political
CGs make possible new social and political connections.
11) If the student wants to engage in some sort of intervention, such as
education, or providing seeds/transplants for free or nearly free,
how does this affect
what is grown and eaten? What if people are given a fixed set of
plants or a
choice of plants? What if the choices are directed for nutritional
such as being able to choose
between kale and collards but not given lettuce as an option?
12) Is anyone interested in growing a complete diet biointensive or
style? Or at least a complete one for a specific period of time as
plots are too small to grow a whole year's worth. What is this
like to grow
and eat? How much fuel is used to cook it conventionally or with a
solar/haybox/rocket stove combo? Best helps for this would be
How to Grow a Complete Diet in Less than 1000 square feet by
How to Grow More Vegetables than you ever thought possible on
than you can imagine by John Jeavons, 5th ed(6th out Dec
2001); a write
up done by a student at UC-Santa Cruz(I think) which John
info on. In order to do this study in one year, the student
grain/compost crops as if he had grown them the season before
added this food to the study year's food. Alternative fuel
from Aprovecho http://www.efn.org/~apro/ .
13) Actually the fuel issue itself would make an interesting study. If
is used the person needs fewer calories to grow/fetch/prepare
land is used to grow the cooking wood and more is available
It might be interesting to grow a community garden with a
that produces the food, the fertilizer for the food(and
fertilizer plants), and
the fuel to cook it. What plan maximizes human nutrition
while caring for
14) Likewise a food plus compost crop study would be helpful.
In 12, 13, or 14, the graduate student would probably need to be the
in order to get the detail needed unless subject(s) were well paid for this
15) What sort of impact does the community garden have on children? In our
the children asked for cooking lessons so they could eat what they grew.
Their parents are generally too drugged/drunk/absent to cook for them or
feed them, so with their new knowledge they can make healthy food for
themselves and eat the things they grow that are more tasty cooked
This probably improves their nutritional intake, but I don't know
has measured the differences.
16) Do children who garden eat a wider variety of foods than those who don't--
even the ones not being starved? Does growing something increase the
probability that a child will taste it?
17) How does CGing affect a person's knowledge about
open pollinated vs hybrid plants for seed saving
the dangers of gmo and terminator seeds
pesticide and herbicide damage to land/food/environment/humans
water use, conservation, collection, swales
18) How does CGing affect aspects of a person's health other than direct
weight, body fat, cholesterol
arthritis pain, mobility, range of motion
health problems compared to a matched set that doesn't
or increasing problems
health status of newborns
A person who might have lots more ideas is Joan Gussow
as she has a great combination of academic nutritional skills and wide ranging
I'd be interested in hearing about any studies that your research group does as
many of these issues are of interest to me.
community_garden maillist - firstname.lastname@example.org