Building Sustainable Neighborhoods through Community Gardens: Enhancing Residents’ Well-being through University–Community Engagement Initiative


  • Nicholas Siewell Henrietta Weill Memorial Child Guidance Clinic
  • Madhavappallil Thomas California State University


Higher Education, Community Engagement


Building communities through creative community garden projects is increasingly common and seems to create beneficial effects for participants. This study recognizes the need to understand the impact of gardens on low socioeconomic neighborhoods. By conducting a needs assessment study and establishing a community garden, we were able to study its impact on residents of a neighborhood in Bakersfield, California. Data were collected from residents and garden participants using surveys and focus groups. Findings show overwhelming support for the garden and identify benefits of gardens on physical and mental health, social capacities, and spiritual health of individuals and neighborhoods. The study shows how such university community engagement initiatives provide a macro practice intervention framework for students, practitioners, and leaders.