Macquarie University
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Harvesting healthy habits?: an evaluation of the Macquarie University community garden

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posted on 2022-03-29, 02:45 authored by Bachar Skayni
The World Health Organization (WHO) warned about rapid urbanization and declared non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their increasing rates a major public health concern. In response, world leaders agreed on the importance of integrating sustainable development in health promotion to ensure a better and more sustainable future to all. Building supportive environments is recognised as a cost-effective intervention to promote healthy lifestyles and choices. There is a growing body of evidence showing how urban agriculture, specifically community gardens, can contribute in achieving sustainable development and improve health. As one of the strategic initiatives for sustainability, the Macquarie University (MQ) community garden provides access to outdoor gardening infrastructure and opportunities for staff, students and broader community members. However, to date, the garden and its impacts on health and wellbeing have not been evaluated. Therefore, this research project served as a formative evaluation of the Macquarie University community garden. It explored the garden's demographic characteristics and participation patterns. Also, it explored perceived benefits and risks as well as enablers and barriers associated with participation in the garden. This research study adopted a mixed method approach to collect data. A cross-sectional survey collected data on participant's demographics, their engagement with the garden, their fruit and vegetable consumption, their physical activity levels and social connectiveness. The gardeners' experiences at the garden, the benefits and risks involved alongside the different barriers and motives to participation were explored using semi-structured interviews. It found that MQ community garden offered many benefits to its users such as the ability to grow organic produce, increase physical activity and improve food literacy, mental health and social connectedness. Moreover, the MQ community garden showed potential to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Furthermore, this project shed light on the higher education sector's role in promoting and contributing to the health of the university's community and in achieving SDGs to ensure a better world for future generations -- abstract.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction -- Chapter 2: Literature review -- Chapter 3: Methodology -- Chapter 4: Results -- Chapter 5: Discussion -- References -- Appendices.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 65-72

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis masters research


Master of Public Health, Macquarie University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Health Systems and Populations

Department, Centre or School

Department of Health Systems and Populations

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Rimante Ronto


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