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Fruit and Vegetable Intake Among Urban Community Gardens

Community gardens can be beneficial within neighborhoods for several reasons. Not only can they encourage social interaction and help beautify the community, they also provide homes with fresh produce and simultaneously reduce family food budgets. This is incredibly helpful especially for urban communities, where access to supermarkets is limited. 

Fruits and vegetables are a major part of a healthy diet; higher intakes of fresh produce has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, types of cancer, and other health issues. As important as it is to eat fresh produce every day, not everyone eats enough. Community gardens can provide affordable and easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables, which can ultimately encourage healthy eating habits. 

The Speak to Your Health! (STYH) Community Survey studied the effects of household participation in community gardening on the level of fruit and vegetable consumption in Flint, Michigan. The survey was conducted over the phone, and participants of the study were asked if the participant or any member of their household had been involved in any community activities, and the community garden project was one of the choices. 


The results showed that 15% of respondents reported that they or a member of their family participated in the community garden project in the last 12 months. And on average, respondents with a household member involved in the community garden ate fruits and vegetables 4.4 times a day compared to 3.3 times for those without a gardening household member. This means that families with someone who participated in the community garden ended up eating more fresh produce than those without. 

The data shows strong evidence that community gardens may successfully encourage fruit and vegetable intake in Flint, Michigan, which can further be applied to other areas. This information can be used to establish more community gardens to better the health of Genesee County residents.

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