Abstract Background: “Food desert” is a term used to describe low-income communities without access to healthy, fresh food within a one-mile radius of their residence. The limited access to healthy foods in urban African-American communities may be a critical factor in the development of nutritional disorders and associated chronic disease in this vulnerable population. Research has shown that community gardens are a promising intervention for addressing food quality and access issues. This study aimed to assess whether improving the local food environment through community gardens can increase accessibility to healthy foods in Metropolitan Atlanta communities assumed to be food deserts. Methods: A systematic literature review was conducted to identify best practices of community garden projects in order to address food deserts in metropolitan cities. Next, a windshield survey was conducted in the Adamsville community in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia to determine if a food desert was present, and to provide an analysis of the local food environment. Results: Twenty-nine articles were reviewed and eight best practices were identified as effective strategies in metropolitan cities. We found that community gardens had only minimal impact on food access issues in urban communities due to seasonal accessibility and low yield. The windshield survey revealed that the Adamsville community was not a food desert because it had access to healthy foods within a half-mile radius. Conclusion: While the literature review revealed that community gardens had a minimal impact on food access in urban communities, food policy advocacy and supermarket tax incentives were identified as effective ways to promote healthy community development.
International Journal on Disability and Human Development – de Gruyter
Published: Nov 1, 2013
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