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      Exploring the Relationship between School Gardens, Food Literacy and Mental Well-Being in Youth Using Photovoice

      research-article

      1 , * , 1 , 2

      Nutrients

      MDPI

      mental health, food literacy, photovoice

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          Abstract

          The goal of the project was to gain an understanding of the relationships between secondary school youth experiences in school gardens and their mental well-being. Over the course of five months, sixteen youths participated in a photovoice research project in which they expressed their personal experiences about food and gardening through photography and writing. The aspects of secondary school youths’ life experiences affected by exposure to school gardens and their impact upon their well-being were identified. The youth explicitly associated relaxation with the themes of love and connectedness, growing food, garden as a place, cooking, and food choices. They were able to demonstrate and develop food literacy competency because of their engagement with the gardening and cooking activities. Youth clubs or groups were identified as a key enabler for connection with other youth and adults. Youth shared their food literacy experiences, observing that their engagement improved some aspect of their mental well-being. Through the photovoice process, the youth identified how their involvement in green spaces enabled connections with others, and highlighted aspects of personal health and personal growth, all of which contribute to their mental well-being.

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          Most cited references 21

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          Youth Participation in Photovoice as a Strategy for Community Change

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            Interaction between learning and development

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              The effects of school gardens on students and schools: conceptualization and considerations for maximizing healthy development.

               Emily Ozer (2007)
              There are thousands of school gardens in the United States, and there is anecdotal evidence that school garden programs can enhance students' learning in academic, social, and health-related domains. There has been little rigorous research, however, on the effects of school gardens or on the factors that promote the sustainability of these programs. This review draws on ecological theory to conceptualize school gardens as systemic interventions with the potential for promoting the health and well-being of individual students in multiple interdependent domains and for strengthening the school environment as a setting for positive youth development. This review (a) summarizes the small literature regarding the impact of school garden curricula on student or school functioning, (b) provides a conceptual framework to guide future inquiry, (c) discusses implications of this conceptualization for practice, and (d) suggests further research needed to better inform practice.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nutrients
                Nutrients
                nutrients
                Nutrients
                MDPI
                2072-6643
                16 June 2019
                June 2019
                : 11
                : 6
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Public Health Program—Child and Youth, Vancouver Coastal Health, Pacific Spirit Community Health Centre, 2110 W. 43rd Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6M 2E1, Canada; kathy.romses@ 123456vch.ca
                [2 ]Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy, University of British Columbia, 2125 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T1Z4, Canada; kerry.renwick@ 123456ubc.ca
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: vanessa.lam@ 123456vch.ca
                Article
                nutrients-11-01354
                10.3390/nu11061354
                6627079
                31208121
                © 2019 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                Categories
                Article

                Nutrition & Dietetics

                mental health, food literacy, photovoice

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