The Shiloh Community Garden in downtown New Brunswick has been the focal point of a unique health project that seeks to foster positive physical, emotional, and social health outcomes for an underserved city population: uninsured clients of Elijah’s Promise Soup Kitchen. These clients, who receive free primary care through the Promise Clinic, a volunteer clinic run by medical students associated with Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, obtain gardening skills while they learn about healthy food and improving personal health.
Through the efforts of Richard Alomar, assistant professor, and Megan Pilla, graduate student, in the Department of Landscape Architecture, sketching at the Shiloh Community Garden has been integrated into the community-based project. Pre-and post-health assessments will evaluate whether the experience leads to positive health outcomes, and sketching journals will document the work recollections and attitudes of the participants. The results will inform future Elijah’s Promise programming, community gardening expansions, further scholarship in community-based health, and an expanded study. The project, a collaboration of Elijah’s Promise, the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and Rutgers, is funded by a Community-University Partnership grant.