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Community gardening in poor neighborhoods in France: A way to re-think food practices?

Authors
  • Martin, Pauline1
  • Consalès, Jean-Noël2
  • Scheromm, Pascale3
  • Marchand, Paul1
  • Ghestem, Florence4
  • Darmon, Nicole5
  • 1 Aix Marseille Univ, INSERM, INRA, NORT, Marseille, France. , (France)
  • 2 Aix Marseille Univ, CNRS, TELEMMME, Aix-en-Provence, France. Electronic address: [email protected] , (France)
  • 3 INRA, INNOVATION, Montpellier, France. , (France)
  • 4 PADES, 42 rue de Maubeuge, 75009 Paris, France. , (France)
  • 5 Aix Marseille Univ, INSERM, INRA, NORT, Marseille, France; INRA, MOISA, UMR1110, Montpellier 34000, France. , (France)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Appetite
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2017
Volume
116
Pages
589–598
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.05.023
PMID: 28527952
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Social inequalities in diet are attributed to sociocultural determinants, economic constraints, and unequal access to healthy food. Fruits and vegetables are lacking in the diets of disadvantaged populations. The objective was to test the hypothesis that, in poor neighborhoods, community gardeners will have larger supply of healthy food, especially fruit and vegetables, than non-gardeners. We examined community gardens from the perspective of production, economics and nutrition, and social and symbolic dimensions, through multidisciplinary investigations involving women with access to a community garden plot in a poor neighborhood of Marseille, France. Gardeners' monthly household food supplies (purchases and garden production) were analyzed and compared with those of women with a similar socio-economic profile living in the same neighborhoods, without access to a garden. Twenty-one gardeners participated. Only eleven of them harvested during the month of the study, and the amount they collected averaged 53 g of produce per household member per day. Whether they harvested or not, most gardeners gave preference to diversity, taste and healthiness of produce over quantity produced. Interviews revealed a value assigned to social, cultural and symbolic dimensions: pride in producing and cooking their own produce, related self-esteem, and sharing their produce at the meal table. The only significant difference between the food supplies of gardener and non-gardener households was seen for fruit and vegetables (369 vs. 211 g/d per person). This difference was due to larger purchases of fruit and vegetables, and not to higher quantities produced. In spite of the cross-sectional nature of our study and the small quantities harvested, our results suggest that having access to a community garden could encourage socio-economically disadvantaged women to adopt dietary practices that more closely meet dietary recommendations. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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