Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2010 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Growing What You Eat: Developing Community Gardens and Improving Food Security
Corrigan, Michelle

Abstract: Food insecurity is a growing concern in the United States as it has been linked to increased health problems including obesity and diabetes. The community food security movement was recently created in an attempt to overcome this unequal distribution of food by localizing food production through approaches such as community gardening. The popularity of community gardening and the localization of food production are evident across the country, especially in central cities hoping to clean up vacant lots and in areas hoping to narrow the gap between production and consumption. Qualitative data from in-depth interviews with gardeners and a non-profit organization and field observations from food stores and community gardens in Baltimore, Maryland were used in this study to determine the extent to which community gardens contribute to food security. The selected study site represents different approaches to community gardening and different perceptions of healthy food. While it is evidenced that the community garden in this study contributes to individual, household, and community food security, additional help is needed in the form of education, policy, and funding to increase food security and promote healthy lifestyles.