To evaluate the impact of minigrants on home food gardening and review 28 health-related minigrant programs reported in the literature for lessons relevant for using minigrant programs to promote community health.
Randomized controlled trial of the impact of minigrants on square footage of food garden area and on garden initiation in 2010 versus 2011. Interviews with participants were also conducted and coded and the literature was reviewed for findings from other community health minigrant programs.
Sixty adults living in 53 households who attended a gardening training workshop in April 2011.
A $40 minigrant in the form of a voucher, valid at a local gardening store.
Minigrant recipients were more likely to increase their gardening space than the control group. The average increase for the intervention group was 39.2 ft2 (3.62 m2) while the control group average garden plot size decreased slightly, on average, by 1.4 ft2 (−0.13 m2). However, the data were not normally distributed and, therefore, nonparametric statistical tests were used. For the subset of 20 households that did not garden at all in 2010, minigrants also provided motivation to start gardening (8 of 10 minigrant households started a garden vs 2 of 10 control households). Results reported from other health minigrant programs are also positive, though few had quantitative outcomes or control groups for comparison.
Even with very small amounts of money, minigrants show promise as an ethical, inexpensive, empowering, and effective health promotion strategy to enable families and communities to improve their health.