Margaret Earle

DPH, MPH, University of Otago

Principal Advisor

Ministry of Health New Zealand

RESEARCH INTERESTS

Tena koutou

Ko Tangi te keo te maunga

Ko Raukawa te moana

No Whanganui a Tara ahau

Ko Margaret Earle toku ingoa

I am interested in the potential of community gardening to benefit health, particularly in urban communities that have poor health or limited resources. Community gardens are well established in many North American and European cities and international research indicates a variety of health benefits. These include increased fruit and vegetable consumption, social cohesion, improved mental health, spiritual connection with the land and increased physical activity. But there is very little research or information about health and community gardening in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Overseas and in this country, community gardening has become increasingly popular with growing concern about the environment and increasing emphasis on sustainable development at a local level. A growing diversity of community garden initiatives are being established in Aotearoa New Zealand. The health sector has begun to recognise the potential co-benefits for health and in some areas is supporting community gardening projects. My research explores the intersection between the potential health benefits of community gardens, the factors that influence whether community gardening initiatives are successful, and who benefits from their development.

I want to thank the NZ Centre for Sustainable Cities for providing a scholarship for my thesis research.

No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa

KEY PUBLICATIONS

Cultivating health: Community gardening as a public health intervention thesis for Master of Public Health, University of Otago, 2011
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