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dc.contributor.advisorRichards, Rosalina
dc.contributor.advisorReeder, Anthony
dc.contributor.authorCollins, Carly Ann
dc.identifier.citationCollins, C. A. (2011). Edible Gardens in New Zealand Schools (Thesis, Master of Public Health). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractThe epidemiological transition has seen Public Health shift its focus from communicable diseases to non-communicable diseases; national health systems are realigning their priorities to combat the rise of chronic disease. The lifestyle factors of good nutrition and regular physical activity play a key role in promoting health and well-being for all ages. Edible gardens in schools are one vehicle that encourages and informs positive nutritional and physical activity habits in young people. In this study, the current status of edible gardens within New Zealand schools is examined. A cross-sectional survey was posted to primary and secondary school principals randomly selected from the Ministry of Education school database. The school principal (or other nominated staff member) answered questions about whether the school currently had an edible garden, the characteristics of the garden (including student participation, funding, types of foods grown), reasons for starting the garden, and barriers to starting and maintaining the garden. Univariate and multivariate models were used to test if demographic characteristics were associated with schools having an edible garden with student involvement. The overall response rate for the survey was 64% (primary schools n=255, secondary schools n=236). The surveys were mostly completed by the school principal and 53% of the respondents who completed the survey reported that their school had a current edible garden with student involvement. There was no statistically significant difference in the proportion of primary and secondary schools having edible gardens. Among schools which were reported to currently have an edible garden, 52% of gardens were less than three years old (62% for primary schools, 40% for secondary schools). Four factors were identified as key reasons for beginning the edible garden: (1) potential curriculum links, (2) links with environmental education and sustainability, (3) links with life skills, and (4) specific interest by a staff member. Respondents for these schools identified that constraints on time was the biggest barrier faced when beginning the edible garden, followed by money and a lack of other resources. For 86% of schools without a current edible garden, it was reported that there was either ‘strong interest’ (46%) or ‘some interest’ (40%) for starting an edible garden at school. Primary schools without an edible garden were more likely to report an interest in starting one compared to secondary schools. Respondents for these schools identified staffing issues (including not enough time, other staff priorities) and lack of funding as the main reasons for not starting an edible garden. Edible gardens are an area of momentum in New Zealand schools because of the strong curriculum links with a wide array of subjects and inquiry-based learning. The potential barriers for starting and maintaining the gardens are a cause for concern if such initiatives are to be successful and sustainable across schools of all deciles. The study findings have implications for government policy, the funding of edible gardens and should assist in the required long-term evaluations of these projects.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.titleEdible Gardens in New Zealand Schools
dc.typeThesis and Social Medicine of Public Health of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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