The Yuma County Public Health Services District prepared a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) in 2015 in partnership with the Health Promotions Division, Health in Arizona Policy Initiative, and Arizona Nutrition Network with significant inputs from the Department of Development Services and other public and community agencies for the purpose of adopting a Community Garden Ordinance for Yuma County.
Community gardens have been identified as part of a strategy for improving access to healthy food, which can reduce food insecurity and help lower the risk of several chronic diseases. As a result, in recent years a number of community-based and public health initiatives in Yuma County began encouraging and establishing community gardens. However, this has required an adjustment to the zoning regulations in several jurisdictions that did not otherwise include community gardens as a permitted land use. The City of Yuma was the first to respond, and in the fall of 2014, Yuma County Department of Development Services began work on its Community Garden Ordinance.
The HIA for the Community Garden Ordinance identified five health outcomes prevalent in Yuma County: Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, stress, and food security. Health Outcome is defined as follows: The health status of an individual, group or population which is attributable to a number of determining factors such as behaviors, social and community environments, health care services and genetics.