Quality of Life and Community Gardens: African refugees and the Griffith University Community Food Garden.
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One of Australia's foremost public health challenges is to meet the unique health requirements of refugees settling in this country. There is compelling evidence that community gardens can enhance health and overall quality of life (QoL) by influencing physical activity, psychosocial fulfilment and food choices; particularly important among vulnerable populations such as refugees. This study explored how African refugee perceptions of QoL are influenced by participation in a campus-based community garden, the Griffith University Community Food Garden (GUCFG). This qualitative case study was underpinned by the theory of ethnography and involved six in-depth, semi structured interviews as the primary data collection method. Additionally, participant observations were used to inform data collection, interpretation, and analysis. Three key elements emerged as having an influence on perceptions of QoL: using the garden as a physical space, participation, and garden membership. Being a member of the garden contributed to participants' trust, mutual aid and reciprocity among gardeners, and sense of belonging to the garden. Participation in the garden allowed for skills and knowledge sharing, meaningful labour, and increased physical activity. The garden space provided otherwise unavailable space to grow nutritious and culturally appropriate food. Garden participation improved perceived QoL in this group of African refugees, suggesting this as a valid mechanism to enhance QoL, and therefore health, of refugee populations and assist their settlement into Australian communities.
Population Health Congress 2008. A Global World - Practical Action for Health and Well-being
© 2008 Australian Health Promotion Association. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the conference's website for access to the definitive, published version.