Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School


First Advisor

Jamie Spinney


community gardens, food nutrition, food security, obesity, urban gardening


With the global population recently surpassing seven and a half billion, questions about feeding the population have emerged. In the past, increased demand for food was addressed through increasing intensification of land use and increasing the area of land under cultivation. Despite these efforts, food insecurity has increased for much of the population over this period, where, according to the USDA, in the U.S. 49.1 million people were food insecure in 2013. Food insecurity in this regard is the lack of access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food at all times. While the complex global food system may be difficult to change, “ground up” solutions among local communities and households bring opportunity for success. Urban gardens offer a local and communitywide solution to help reduce the effects of food insecurity amongst households. This research explores the role of urban gardens as a tool to aid efforts in fighting food insecurity in Sioux Falls, SD, by examining the experiences of gardeners and how gardens have affected perceptions of food security and eating behaviors in their lives. Additionally, this research investigates the nutritional quality of urban garden produce as it compares to store-bought equivalents to reinforce the idea that increased nutritional quality means an individual who is more food secure. This research improves our understanding of the role community gardens play in providing local sources of nutrition by addressing one aspect of food insecurity, and how urban gardens in Sioux Falls, SD affect access to and consumption of nutritional food for the surrounding community.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Gardens -- South Dakota -- Sioux Falls.
Urban gardens.
Community gardens.
Food security.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 80-86)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright