Vegetable consumption patterns of urban farmers in community gardens in Emfuleni Local Municipality, Gauteng province of South Africa
Lack of adequate vegetable consumption may contribute to micronutrient deficiency especially in developing countries where low intake of nutrient-dense animal products is common. Despite growing evidence that vegetable consumption is of great importance, only about 25.6% South Africans consume sufficient vegetables per day. This research was carried out to investigate the vegetable consumption patterns of urban farmers in Emfuleni Local Municipality, South Africa. The objectives were to determine reasons why urban farmers consume vegetables, vegetable intake patterns in a 24-hour recall, and factors influencing vegetable consumption patterns. The study was conducted in six (6) large townships of Emfuleni Local Municipality using a quantitative research approach and survey design. A sample of 254 urban farmers were randomly selected from 30 urban community gardens with a population of 418 farmers. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews using a semi-structured survey questionnaire. Quantitative data were analysed using Statistical Program for the Social Sciences Version 23. Descriptive statistics (frequencies and percentages) and ordered logistic regression model were explored to analyse the data. The results revealed that 96.1% and 93.3% of farmers in urban community gardens consumed vegetables as a relish and salad, respectively. Vegetables were mostly consumed during dinner because most respondents were physically present in the community gardens during the day. The results of the factors influencing vegetable consumption patterns showed that out of 10 independent variables chosen, only three (age group, level of education, and main source of income) were positive and statistically significant. The study, therefore, recommends that farmers should include vegetables in all three of their daily meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Education in the form of training should be provided to the urban farmers to create awareness in the community about the importance of vegetable gardens and the consumption of vegetables across all age groups.
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