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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 104, Issue 1, pp e55–e59 | Cite as

Perspectives on Community Gardens, Community Kitchens and the Good Food Box Program in a Community-based Sample of Low-income Families

  • Rachel LoopstraEmail author
  • Valerie Tarasuk
Quantitative Research
  • 9 Downloads

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Growing recognition of the problem of household food insecurity in Canada has meant public health practitioners are looking for effective ways to ameliorate this problem in their communities. Community gardens, community kitchens, and food box programs can offer nutritious foods for comparably lower costs, however, the uptake and perceptions of these programs in populations at risk of food insecurity have not been evaluated. Building on a previous finding of low program participation among 485 families living in high-poverty neighbourhoods in Toronto, the objective of this study was to understand reasons for non-participation.

METHODS: One year after the baseline study, 371 families were interviewed a second time and were asked to provide their reasons for not participating in community gardens, community kitchens, or the Good Food Box program. Responses were analyzed by inductive content analysis.

RESULTS: At follow-up, only 12 families had participated in a community garden, 16 in a community kitchen, and 4 in the Good Food Box program. Reasons for non-participation grouped under two themes. First, families expressed that programs were not accessible because they lacked the knowledge of how or where to participate or because programs were not in their neighbourhoods. Second, programs lacked fit for families, as they were not suited to busy schedules, interests, or needs.

CONCLUSIONS: This study provides unique perspective on participation in community food programs among food-insecure families and suggests that these programs may not be effective options for these families to improve their food access.

Key words

Food security low-income poverty Canada public health 

Résumé

OBJECTIF: La reconnaissance croissante du problème de l’insécurité alimentaire des ménages au Canada amène les praticiens de la santé publique à chercher des moyens efficaces d’améliorer la situation dans leur communauté. Les jardins communautaires, les cuisines collectives et les boîtes de vivres peuvent offrir des aliments nutritifs à un coût comparativement faible, mais on n’a pas évalué le recours à ces programmes, ni la façon dont ils sont perçus, dans les populations exposées à l’insécurité alimentaire. Une étude antérieure avait constaté la faible participation à de tels programmes pour 485 familles vivant dans un quartier très pauvre de Toronto; nous avons cherché à comprendre les raisons de cette non-participation.

MÉTHODE: Un an après l’étude de base, nous avons interviewé 371 familles une deuxième fois pour leur demander les raisons de leur refus de participer aux programmes de jardins communautaires, de cuisines collectives ou de boîtes d’aliments sains. Nous avons analysé le contenu de leurs réponses par induction.

RÉSULTATS: Au suivi, seulement 12 familles avaient participé à un jardin communautaire, 16 à une cuisine collective et 4 à un programme de boîtes d’aliments sains. Les raisons de la non-participation ont été regroupées sous deux thèmes. Premièrement, les familles nous ont dit que les programmes n’étaient pas accessibles parce qu’elles ne savaient pas comment ni où y participer, ou parce que ces programmes n’étaient pas offerts dans leur quartier. Deuxièmement, les programmes étaient mal adaptés aux familles, car ils ne tenaient pas compte de leurs horaires chargés, de leurs intérêts ou de leurs besoins.

CONCLUSION: Cette étude présente une perspective unique de la participation des familles exposées à l’insécurité alimentaire aux programmes alimentaires communautaires; nous montrons que ces programmes peuvent ne pas être des options efficaces pour améliorer l’accès de ces familles aux aliments.

Mots clés

sécurité alimentaire faible revenu pauvreté Canada santé publique 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Nutritional SciencesUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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