Exploring the Relationship between School Gardens, Food Literacy and Mental Well-Being in Youth Using Photovoice Lam, Vanessa; Romses, Kathy; Renwick, Kerry
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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