Alyssa Beavers

Alyssa Beavers

Assistant Professor

Alyssa Beavers


Nutrition and Food Science

My current research focuses on two areas: gardening and food security.  I research urban gardening as a health promotion strategy, examining both the health impacts of gardening as well as factors that influence maintenance of gardening. This research uses a community-based participatory research approach, partnering with local gardening organizations throughout the research process.  I also examine the relationship between food security and aspects of diet quality, food purchasing and other means of food procurement.

Research interest(s)/area of expertise

 Urban gardening, food security, community-based participatory research


  • PhD: Human Nutrition, Michigan State University
  • Dietetic Internship: Iowa State University
  • MS: Nutritional Science, Iowa State University

Selected publications

Sachs S, Tharrey M, Darmon N, Alaimo K, Boshara A, Beavers A, Litt J. “To me, it's just natural to be in the garden”: A multi-site investigation of new community gardener motivation using Self-Determination Theory. Wellbeing, Space, and Society. 2022; 3.

Beavers AW, Atkinson A, Varvatos LM, Connolly M, Alaimo K. How gardening in Detroit influences physical and mental health. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health. 2022, 19(13), 7899;

Niles MT, Beavers AW, Clay LA, et al., A Multi-Site Analysis of the Prevalence of Food Insecurity in the United States, before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Current Developments in Nutrition. 2021; 5(12).

Litton MM, Beavers AW. The relationship between food security status and fruit and vegetable intake during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nutrients. 2021; 13(3):712.

Beavers AW, Atkinson A, Ma W, Alaimo K. Garden characteristics and types of program involvement associated with sustained garden membership in an urban gardening support program. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. 2021; 59:127026. doi:10.1016/j.ufug.2021.127026

Gascon M, Harrall KK, Beavers AW, et al. Feasibility of collection and analysis of microbiome data in a longitudinal randomized trial of community gardening. Future Microbiology. 2020; 15(8):633-648. doi:10.2217/fmb-2019-0195

Beavers AW, Atkinson, A, & Alaimo K. How gardening and a gardener support program in Detroit influence participants’ diet, food security, and food values. Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition. 2020; 15(2). doi:10.1080/19320248.2019.1587332

Alaimo K, Beavers AW, Crawford C, Hodges Snyder E, & Litt JS. Amplifying health through community gardens: A framework for advancing multicomponent, behaviorally based neighborhood interventions. Current Environmental Health Reports. 2016; 3, doi: 10.1007/s40572-016-0105-0

Courses taught by Alyssa Beavers

Winter Term 2023 (current)

Fall Term 2022

Winter Term 2022

Fall Term 2021