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Curr Environ Health Rep. 2017 Jun;4(2):252-265. doi: 10.1007/s40572-017-0133-4.

Community Gardens as Environmental Health Interventions: Benefits Versus Potential Risks.

Author information

1
Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr. #0628, La Jolla, CA, 92093, USA. waldelaimy@ucsd.edu.
2
Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr. #0628, La Jolla, CA, 92093, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW:

The purpose of this paper was to summarize current findings on community gardens relevant to three specific areas of interest as follows: (1) health benefits, (2) garden interventions in developing versus developed countries, and (3) the concerns and risks of community gardening.

RECENT FINDINGS:

Community gardens are a reemerging phenomenon in many low- and high-income urban neighborhoods to address the common risk factors of modern lifestyle. Community gardens are not limited to developed countries. They also exist in developing low-income countries but usually serve a different purpose of food security. Despite their benefits, community gardens can become a source of environmental toxicants from the soil of mostly empty lands that might have been contaminated by toxicants in the past. Therefore, caution should be taken about gardening practices and the types of foods to be grown on such soil if there was evidence of contamination. We present community gardens as additional solutions to the epidemic of chronic diseases in low-income urban communities and how it can have a positive physical, mental and social impact among participants. On balance, the benefits of engaging in community gardens are likely to outweigh the potential risk that can be remedied. Quantitative population studies are needed to provide evidence of the benefits and health impacts versus potential harms from community gardens.

KEYWORDS:

Chronic diseases; Community gardens; Developing countries; Environment; Nutrition; Soil toxicants; Urban

PMID:
28432638
DOI:
10.1007/s40572-017-0133-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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