In Eat Smart New York, a Community & School Garden Specialist provides support to identified gardens in schools and communities in high-needs counties and towns. The specialist:
- convenes meetings of stakeholders
- provides technical assistance for creating and maintaining a successful garden
- provides supplies (on a limited basis)
A garden site survey is used to assess site readiness by evaluating infrastructure and community support. This information is used to develop and implement plans with garden groups to address these needs. The survey is conducted at the end of each growing season and based on results, the Specialist makes recommendations on how to improve sustainability.
Nutrition educators are matched with each garden site and provide one time and series education using approved curricula.
Last year, we worked with 16 gardens, this year the plan is to reach 20 to 25 garden sites.
500 residents at a public housing site in Rochester, NY gained access to an on-site garden, 75% indicated they eat more vegetables
800 students gained access to gardens on school campus in Newfield, NY with 80% eating more vegetables.
An estimated 3,000 pounds of produce were harvested and distributed from gardens in 2016.
One student said about a veggie stir fry made with the nutrition educator,
“I’m going to bring this home and ask my Mom to make it every day!”
Type of Program
Policy, system, and environmental change to build capacity for eligible gardens
Years of Implementation
Number of Participants
1,440 in 2016
Families and youth eligible for SNAP
Cornell University is helping with evaluation methods and tools this year. Outputs include numbers of participants engaged in gardens, acreage planted, types of produce planted, and pounds or bags of produce grown and locations where distributed. Outcomes will include: 1) perceived benefits, facilitators, and barriers expressed by sponsoring agencies; and 2) possibilities for increased partnership and sustainability. Additionally, pilot data on changes in children’s taste preferences will also be collected to see if involvement in gardens has a positive impact on children’s willingness to try fruits and vegetables.