Utamu wa Afrika (the sweet taste of Africa): The vegetable garden as part of resettled African refugees’ food environment
Aim To examine the role of gardening as a component of resettled African refugees' food environment. Methods This was a qualitative study that collected data using in-depth interviews from 13 gardeners who were purposively sampled to include those participating in community and home gardens. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and thematic analysis was used to identify themes in the data. Results Thematic analysis of the interviews revealed three emerging themes: food provision (access, availability and affordability), enhanced wellbeing (mental and physical) and barriers encountered in the food environment (limited knowledge on crop seasonality, size of garden and cost of manure). By having access to a vegetable garden, participants were able to access healthy foods and utilise familiar and culturally acceptable foods. Conclusions Through gardening, the resettled refugees' traditional foods are not only made available but easily accessible at little or no cost ensuring households are able to make healthy food choices. The pillars of food security-food availability, access, utilisation and stability-are enhanced through gardening, making community and home gardens an important component of the resettled refugees' food environment.
Nutrition and Dietetics
Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified