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A thesis presented towards the degree of Bachelor of Science in lluman Nutrition and Dietetics BSc (Hum Nut) at The University of Dublin, Trinity College. and Technological University Dublin. 2011. This research was undertaken by Christina Purcell in collaboration with the LIFELINE project and was supervised by Sheila Sugrue. Christina completed this research as part of her BSc in Human Nutrition and Dietetics.


Urban community gardens are local projects managed for and by members of the local community. They may be run in partnership with local authorities or as part of community development or regeneration schemes (Hale et al., 2011). The gardens exist primarily in urban areas and are often established in response to a local community's lack of open green space (Viljoen et al., 2005). The scale and format of the gardens may vary. Depending on the available land and support, urban community gardening projects can be relatively small and in Dublin they range from small disused residential gardens (Cabra Park, See Figure l) to larger sites such as the four acre site in Santry. In other countries these projects may occur on a much larger scale such as the mile and a half long 'High Line Park' elevated community garden in New York. The format of the gardens varies. They may be a collection of plots, worked individually or a communal garden. 'oGrow-a-row" projects in the United States and Canada actively encourage gardeners to set aside space for charitable donations (Ontario Trillium Foundation,20ll). Similarly in Dublin some of the urban community garden space is allocated to local charities such as soup kitchens (Dolphins Bam Community Garden, See Figure 1) other community groups (for example the Simon Community (Bridgefoot Street Community Garden, See Figure 1) or educational facilities for example college plots (Wpaver Court Community Garden, See Figure l) (Bellows et a1., 2004)). As community-based sites, theirpotential for fostering environmental change irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity, income or education level has gained increased recognition (Bellows et al., 2004). Improved nutrition, increased physical activity, enhanced social engagement and improved mental health, are some of the benefits of urban community gardens that have been demonstrated to strengthen and sustain neighborhoods (Teig et a1.,2009). Community gardening has a long established history worldwide with estimates of over 18,000 community gardens in the United States and Canada (McCormack et a1., 2010). The concept of urban community gardening in Ireland is relatively new however as pafi of an ever expanding 'grow your own movement', the numbers involved are increasing. While there are no firm statistics regarding the number of urtan community gardens in Dublin, current estimates are well in excess of 40 gardens (Dublin City Community Forum, 2010).