Delicious Meals from Garden to Plate



As declared in the Creating Healthier Communities Diversity Coalition (CHCDC) Application for CDOC Funding (submitted November 2011), in response to the Comprehensive Cancer Plan, Obesity Objective #2, which reads “By 2015, increase the daily consumption of the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables among California adults by 12 percent each, from baselines of 40.1% and 26.8% to 45% and 30%, respectively”, the CHCDC’s Activity Objective was to “By June 2012, the CHCDC will educate the local community in the Sacramento Region on options for growing ones on vegetables and fruits to increase family consumption.”  On March 3, 2012, we conducted a community event entitled “Delicious Meals, From Garden to Plate” at the Oak Park Community Center.

This was the first event of its kind conducted by the CHCDC, and to our knowledge, the first of its kind in the state.  Our event combined the fun and function of growing one’s own vegetables with cooking healthy meals as a response to the priority Public Health issue of controlling obesity among individuals.  We believe the successes of this event are as follows:

  • We enabled participants to eat more vegetables and some fruits because they can grow their own at home in varying spaces which can be both fun and economical; and ways to simply, healthfully and appetizingly to prepare them.
  • The CHCDC was able to successfully build new alliances with several organizations and individuals such as the UCD Extension Master Gardeners, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Chef Vargas of Taste of the Senses, Michael Gorman of Sun Gro Horticulture as well as enhancing established collaborations with the American Cancer Society, Michelle Lites, RD and community partners in a novel manner.

The event design was innovative!  To our knowledge, the first event of its kind in the state with an emphasis on fun learning, functionality tied to a strong Public Health message.

We believe the impact of our project is long-reaching.  Participants learned the following:

  • That gardening is easy and economical and can be done year round in a variety of spaces with the right planning.
  • How community gardens are created and can be supported.
  • Recipes that are simple and tasty can be healthful.
  • That gardening has mass appeal cutting across race, ethnic, socioeconomic and boundaries of national origins.
  • Eating fresh homegrown vegetables can control one’s health and is empowering. 

We received an overwhelmingly positive response from the participants. In the next 6 months, a majority of the participants plan to increase their vegetable and fruit intake as well as increase the variety, start container gardening, and try new recipes.

There were 58 participants, of which 19 were walk-ins. Materials on nutrition and cancer were available for participants to take from Novartis, HealthNet, and American Cancer Society.  In addition, each person that completed an evaluation received a bag of potting soils to begin their garden. Thirty out of 40 respondents said that 50% or more of the information offered was new to them.  95% agreed and strongly agreed that the time on the program was well spent. 90% agreed and strongly agreed that the program objectives were completely met.