Educational Psychology

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The Fresh Start Garden Project

The Fresh Start Garden program is a community-led garden and cooking program for preschool-aged children, their adult caregivers, and older youth from North Minneapolis. The project is a collaboration between Appetite For Change, La Creche Early Childhood Learning Center, WE WIN Institute, The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum's Urban Youth Garden Program, and the Department of Educational Psychology.

The Community-University partnership is at the heart of this participatory action research project that will evaluate the benefit to families, older youth and the Community of coming together in order to grow, cook and eat food in a supportive and social learning environment.

The 16-week garden and cooking project will be designed, implemented and evaluated by the Community. Shared governance between University and Community partners will be demonstrated at every stage of the project, from evaluation design to program implementation. This symbiotic relationship will benefit both the Community and University by creating a model for a Community-based Partner Research (CBPR) approach for evaluation of this type of program. It will not only answer questions that are important to the Community, but also set the stage to provide other research opportunities across disciplines. Strong relationships will be cultivated between the University and Community, building trust and mutual respect, and laying the foundation for deeper exploration of the multiple issues and possibilities that are raised by an innovative program like the Fresh Start Garden project.

Project staff

  • Tracy Bradfield, principal investigator
  • Michelle Horovitz, Appetite for Change, community principal investigator


Internal research grant from the University of Minnesota Healthy Foods Healthy Lives Institute, 1/15/13 to 12/31/13