Document Type

Article - Open Access

Publication Title

International Journal of Child Health and Human Development


Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Publication Date


Abstract/ Summary

Chronic poor health within inner cities is usually the result of prolonged exposure to a multitude of health disparities. These disparities, are exacerbated by poverty, high unemployment, crime and youth violence. In many cases, these factors increase neighborhood instability and civic disengagement. Community garden programs can strengthen civic engagement and foster neighborhood stability, while simultaneously cutting down on youth violence. Community garden programs address the accumulation of health challenges in many ways and provide curative building blocks to deal with poor nutrition, obesity, diabetes, psychological disorders, and deficient growth of infants, substance abuse, civic detachment and suicide rate. Urban agriculture not only strengthens communities from withing, but is also a cost-efficient, trans-generational cross cultural, multi-disciplinary tool that can be used to address these issues. This article will summarize a rapidly growing body of research addressing the use of community gardens and the ways in which it can positively impact economic, social, and health-related aspects within inner cities. The article will draw upon the experience of the Neighborhood Community Garden Initiative implemented by Lawrence Massachusetts. The initiative is a community-based multi-pronged approach and demonstrates how lot revitalization and urban agriculture not only address health-challenges but also effectively stabilizes distressed neighborhoods and is a cost effective community-organizing tool. In turn, violence is reduced and residents feel safer, relations with police improve thereby lowering stress levels and empowering residents to take pride and ownership in the further development of their neighborhoods.



Author Manuscript

This is a pre-publication author manuscript of the final, published article.