Harvesting Healthy Habits

Harvesting Healthy Habits in Long Beach: A Nutrition and Gardening Intervention to Prevent Chronic Diseases among Underserved Populations

Harvesting Healthy Habits is an integrated project aiming to improve eating patterns to prevent chronic diseases and increase food access among underserved low-income and racial/ ethnic minority children enrolled in 3rd to 5th grade and their families. The integrated project (education, research, extension) will be carried out through a collaboration between the CSULB Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation and Leadership Training and Adventures to Dreams Enrichment (AtDE), a community-based garden located in a high-need underserved area in the City of Long Beach, CA. The project that aims to:

  • Engage community and university stakeholders in the design, testing, and implementation of the intervention and the design of student training activities;
  • Improve eating habits and nutrition knowledge among underserved youth grades 3rd to 5 th and their parents/caregivers. A total of 174 youth and their parents/caregivers will be recruited to participate in the study;
  • Increase the number of underserved CSULB undergraduate and graduate students prepared to enter the workforce or graduate school. A total of 12 undergraduate and 6 graduate students will be selected to engage in a comprehensive research training and experiential learning fellowship; and
  • Strengthen underserved communities in Long Beach by improving food security and nutritional health outcomes for study participants and their families


U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Award # 2023-69015-39407

Funding Period

January 2023 – January 2026

Program Activities

Undergraduate and graduate students will have the opportunity to apply for a 9-month experiential learning fellowship. A total of 18 students (12 undergraduate and 6 graduate) from the departments of Nutrition, Health Science, Kinesiology or other health-related field at CSULB will be selected and trained in community-engaged research.

Orientation and training will be provided to selected research fellows to understand the contexts wherein nutrition and health-related decisions and behaviors occur; followed by experiential hands-on learning via community-engaged research, nutrition and gardening health promotion, and data collection and evaluation.


Undergraduate Student Required Qualifications
  • CSULB student pursuing a degree in health science, nutrition, and kinesiology or another health-related major;
  • Junior or senior standing;
  • 18 years or older
  • Enrolled in at least 6 units during the 2023-2024 academic year;
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Commit to 20 hours per week for 9 months;
  • Reliable transportation with ability to travel to community garden in Downtown Long Beach;
  • Must be able to attend all trainings and project meetings
  • Available on some evenings and weekends for intervention activities. 
Graduate Student Required Qualifications
  • CSULB student pursuing a master’s degree in public health, kinesiology, nutrition, or other health related field; 18 years or older
  • Enrolled in at least 6 units during the 20XX-20XX academic year;
  • Minimum 3.2 GPA;
  • Commit to 20 hours per week for 9 months;
  • Reliable transportation with ability to travel to community garden in Downtown Long Beach;
  • Must be able to attend all trainings and project meetings
  • Available on some evenings and weekends for intervention activities.

Preference will be given to first-generation educated (parents/legal guardians may not hold a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. university), students with financial need, members of racial/ethnic minority groups, and students with disabilities. Bilingual in English and Spanish preferred. 

Fellowship Activities & Time Commitment
  • Research training with emphasis in nutrition and chronic disease, community-based participatory research, and research ethics;
  • Experiential learning with opportunity to develop and/or implement an intervention to improve eating habits and healthy lifestyles;
  • Mentorship from faculty and staff;
  • Professional development;
  • Opportunity to travel to a conference;
  • Complete evaluation surveys to assess the effectiveness of the student training program.
Orientation and Onboarding:
  • July 24th, 2023 from 10am – 4pm
  • Mandatory Trainings:
  • July 26th; 1pm-4 pm
  • July 28th; 10a - 1pm
  • August 2nd; 1pm-4 pm
  • August 4th; 10a - 1pm
  • August 16th; 1pm-4 pm
  • August 18th; 10a - 1pm
  • August 9th – 11th and 14th – 15th, from 9:30am – 4:30pm
Fellowship Benefits
  • Enhance student preparedness for graduate school or the workforce;
  • Develop leadership and research skills and abilities;
  • Engage in a research experience;
  • Receive mentorship from faculty and staff;
  • Connect with CSULB peers, faculty, and staff; and
  • Receive a monthly scholarship stipend and one-time funding to travel to a conference.
Student Application

The complete application package must include: 

  • Complete Research Fellow Application on Qualtrics
  • Unofficial Transcripts from CSULB
  • One (1) letter of recommendation from a current or former instructor, advisor, or supervisor (submitted by the recommender via this Qualtrics link: https://bit.ly/HHHFellowshipRecommendation )
  • A Personal Statement (500 words) 
    • Describe your interest in engaging in public health community research. Why are you interested in working with underserved populations in Long Beach?
    • Describe your future education and/or career goals. How would this opportunity contribute to those goals?
    • Describe some of your strengths and areas where you are looking to grow further. 
  • Resume (1-page) including college(s) attended, community service/volunteer and work experiences, and extracurricular activities. 

*All documents should be legible and clean copies in either Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF. No pictures of transcripts.

The 2023 application deadline has passed. 




Lesly Joj-Escun
Manuel Marroquin
Pamela Martinez
Stephanie Perez Martinez
Stephanie Soto
Beatriz Tovar



Program Staff

Melawhy Garcia, PhD, MPH 
Principal Investigator 
Assistant Professor, Department of Health Science

Natalia Gatdula, MPH
Associate Director, Center for Latino Community Health