Community gardening, neighborhood meetings, and social capital


  • This research was funded by the WK Kellogg Foundation Community Health Scholars Program, the University of Michigan Institute for Research on Women and Gender, and a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (No. R49/CCR518605).

  • The authors express their deep appreciation to the other members of the Community Garden Storytelling Committee and supporters—Ashley Atkinson, Ella Aubrey, Lee Bell, Edna Chaney, Constance Cobley, Doris Elam, Craig Farrington, Jennifer Farrington, Pat Legg, Pete Hutchison, Susan Morrel-Samuels, Lillie Neal, Julie Parsons, Elizabeth Perry, Janelle Powell, Erma Pugh, Thomas Reischl, Jane Richardson, Stephanie Shumsky, Mary Alyce Stickney, Fannie Odom, Ken Van Wagoner, Andrew Younger, and Marc Zimmerman—and the Flint community gardeners, who made this study possible.


This study examined associations between participation in community gardening/beautification projects and neighborhood meetings with perceptions of social capital at both the individual and neighborhood levels. Data were analyzed from a cross-sectional stratified random telephone survey conducted in Flint, Michigan (N=1916). Hierarchical linear and logistic regression analyses were used to study associations, controlling for individual and Census block group-level confounders. At the individual level, household involvement in community gardening/beautification activities and in neighborhood meetings were associated with residents' perceptions of bonding social capital, linking social capital, and neighborhood norms and values. Household involvement in gardening/beautification and meetings had stronger associations with residents' perceptions of social capital than did neighborhood-level involvement measures. Results suggest involvement in neighborhood meetings augment the individual and neighborhood-wide perceptions of social capital associated with community gardening and beautification projects. Neighborhood community gardens' impact on neighborhood residents' perceptions of social capital can be enhanced by neighborhood-wide meetings. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.