Effect of home vegetable gardening on the household availability of fruits and vegetables

<div><p>ABSTRACT Objective: Evaluate the effect of planting herb or vegetable seeds and seedlings on the household availability of fruits and vegetables through an intervention study combining various actions (educational practices, home visits, and distribution of seeds and seedlings) for the promotion of fruit and vegetable consumption in multiple settings. Methods: Data from 70 families were analyzed. Using the stratified sampling technique, the participant families were selected from a stratum within a population of 1,743 families living in three low-income communities in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Three post-intervention groups were formed and compared: families that did not receive the seeds and seedlings during the intervention; families that received but did not plant the seeds and seedlings; families that received and planted the seeds and seedlings. Results: Among the families that did not grow their own fruits and vegetables before the intervention, those that received and planted the seeds and seedlings achieved an increase in household availability of fruits and vegetables (Δ=+5.8 percentage points) up to three times higher (p<0.05) than that achieved by the families who did not receive the seeds and seedlings (Δ=+1.8 5 percentage points) and those that received but did not plant them (Δ=+2.3 percentage points). As for the families that grew their own fruits and vegetables before the intervention, the comparison between those that did not receive the seeds and seedlings, those that received and planted them, and those that received but did not plant them showed no differences in the household availability of fruits and vegetables. Conclusion: The planting of the seeds and seedlings that they received by the families that did not grow their own fruits and vegetables before the intervention contributed to a significant increase in the household availability of fruits and vegetables.</p></div>