Color me healthy: Food diversity in school community gardens in two rapidly urbanising Australian cities
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Community garden research has focused on social aspects of gardens, neglecting systematic analysis of what food is grown. Yet agrodiversity within community gardens may provide health benefits. Diverse fruit and vegetables provide nutritional benefits, including vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. This paper reports research that investigated the agro-biodiversity of school-based community gardens in Brisbane and Gold Coast cities, Australia. Common motivations for establishing these gardens were education, health and environmental sustainability. The 23 gardens assessed contained 234 food plants, ranging from 7 to 132 plant types per garden. This included 142 fruits and vegetables. The nutritional diversity of fruits and vegetable plants was examined through a color classification system. All gardens grew fruits and vegetables from at least four food color groups, and 75% of the gardens grew plants from all seven color groups. As places with high agrodiversity, and related nutritional diversity, some school community gardens can provide children with exposure to a healthy range of fruit and vegetables, with potential flow-on health benefits.
Health & Place
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