Urban home food gardens in the Global North: research traditions and future directions
- 2.5k Downloads
In the United States, interest in urban agriculture has grown dramatically. While community gardens have sprouted across the landscape, home food gardens—arguably an ever-present, more durable form of urban agriculture—have been overlooked, understudied, and unsupported by government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academics. In part a response to the invisibility of home gardens, this paper is a manifesto for their study in the Global North. It seeks to develop a multi-scalar and multidisciplinary research framework that acknowledges the garden’s social and ecological or material dimensions. Given the lack of existing research, we draw on the more extensive literature on home gardens in the South and community gardens in the North to develop a set of hypotheses about the social-ecological effects of urban home food gardens in the North. These gardens, we hypothesize, contribute to food security, community development, cultural reproduction, and resilience at multiple scales; conserve agrobiodiversity; and support urban biodiversity. They may also have negative ecological effects, such as stormwater nutrient loading. Because of the entanglement of the social and the ecological or material in the garden, we review three theoretical perspectives—social ecological systems theory, actor-network theory, and assemblage theory—that have been or could be applied to the multi-scalar and multidisciplinary study of the garden. We also review sampling and analytic methods for conducting home garden research. The paper concludes with a discussion of opportunities to extend the research agenda beyond descriptive analysis, the primary focus of garden research to date.
KeywordsUrban agriculture Home garden Global North Ecosystem services Food security Resilience
Random digit dialing
- Barthel, S., C. Folke, and J. Colding. 2010. Social-ecological memory in urban gardens-Retaining the capacity for management of ecosystem services. Global Environmental Change-Human and Policy Dimensions 20(2):255–265. doi: 10.1016/J.Gloenvcha.2010.01.001.
- Bassett, T.J. 1981. Reaping on the margins: A century of community gardening in America. Landscape 25(2): 8p.Google Scholar
- Bennett, J. 2010. Vibrant matter: A political ecology of things. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
- Beymer-Farris, B.A., T. Bassett, and I. Bryceson. 2012. Promises and pitfalls of adaptive management in resilience thinking: The lens of political ecology. In Resilience and the cultural landscape, ed. T. Plieninger, and C. Bieling. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Bhatti, M., and A. Church. 2001. Cultivating natures: Homes and gardens in late modernity. Sociology-the Journal of the British Sociological Association 35(2): 365–383.Google Scholar
- Chevalier, S. 1998. From woolen carpet to grass carpet: Bridging house and garden in an English suburb. In Material cultures: Why some things matter, ed. D. Miller, 47–71. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- City of Chicago. 2013. Urban agriculture FAQ. Accessed 26 July 2013.Google Scholar
- Crouch, D., and C. Ward. 1988. The allotment: Its landscape and culture. Faber and Faber.Google Scholar
- De Landa, M. 2006. A new philosophy of society: Assemblage theory and social complexity. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
- Drescher, A.W., R. J. Holmer, and D. L. Iaquinta. 2006. Urban homegardens and allotment gardens for sustainable livelihoods: Management strategies and institutional environments. In Tropical homegardens: A time-tested example of sustainable agroforestry, eds. B. M. Kumar, and P. K. R. Nair, 317–338. vol. 3. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
- Ellen, R.F., and H. Harris. 2000. Introduction. In Indigenous environmental knowledge and its transformations: Critical anthropological perspectives, eds. Peter Parkes, and Alan Bicker, 1–33. vol. v 5. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic.Google Scholar
- Folke, C., S.R. Carpenter, B. Walker, M. Scheffer, T. Chapin, and J. Rockstrom. 2010. Resilience thinking: Integrating resilience, adaptability and transformability. Ecology and Society 15(4): 20p. http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol15/iss4/art20/
- Gaskell, S.M. 1980. Gardens for the working class: Victorian practical pleasure. Victorian Studies 23(4): 479–501.Google Scholar
- Gaynor, A. 2006. Harvest of the suburbs: An environmental history of growing food in Australian cities. Crawley, WA: University of Western Australia Press.Google Scholar
- Gibson-Graham, J.K. 2006. A postcapitalist politics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
- Gray, L., P. Guzman, K.M. Glowa, and A.G. Drevno. 2013. Can home gardens scale up into movements for social change? The role of home gardens in providing food security and community change in San Jose, California. Local Environment (ahead-of-print):1–17. doi: 10.1080/13549839.2013.792048.
- Head, L., P. Muir, and E. Hampel. 2004. Australian backyard gardens and the journey of migration. Geographical Review 94(3): 22p.Google Scholar
- Hinz, G. 2013. Farmer Emanuel expands his turf. http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20130315/BLOGS02/130319836/farmer-emanuel-expands-his-turf. Accessed 26 July 2013.
- Howard, P.L. 2004. Gender and social dynamics in swidden and homegardens in Latin America. In Tropical homegardens, ed. B.M. Kumar, and P. Nair. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
- Jamison, M.S. 1986. The joys of gardening: Collectivist and bureaucratic cultures in conflict. Sociological Quarterly 26(4): 18p.Google Scholar
- Kantor, L.S. 2001. Community food security programs improve food access. FoodReview 24(1): 7p.Google Scholar
- Lansu, M. 2012. NATO summit cash to fund vegetable gardens at 60 city schools. http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/17055522-418/nato-summit-cash-to-fund-vegetable-gardens-at-60-city-schools.html. Accessed 25 July 2013.
- Latour, B. 2005. Reassembling the social: An introduction to actor-network-theory. Clarendon lectures in management studies. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Lawson, L.J. 2005. City bountiful: A century of community gardening in America. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Matteson, K.C., J.S. Ascher, and G.A. Langellotto. 2008. Bee richness and abundance in New York City urban gardens. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 101(1): 140–150. doi: 10.1603/0013-8746(2008)101[140:BRAAIN]2.0.CO;2.
- Mazumdar, S. 2012. Immigrant home gardens: Places of religion, culture, ecology, and family. Landscape and Urban Planning 105(3): 258–265.Google Scholar
- McCubbin, L.D., and H.I. McCubbin. 2005. Culture and ethnic identity in family reslience. In Handbook for working with children and youth: Pathways to resilience across cultures and contexts, ed. Michael Ungar, xxxix, 511 p. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Nair, P.K.R. 2006. Whither homegardens? In Tropical homegardens: A time-tested example of sustainable agroforestry, ed. B.M. Kumar, and P.K.R. Nair. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
- Nazarea, V.D. 1998. Cultural memory and biodiversity. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.Google Scholar
- Nazarea, V.D. 2005. Heirloom seeds and their keepers: Marginality and memory in the conservation of biological diversity. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.Google Scholar
- Pawelek, J.E.A. 2009. Modification of a community garden to attract native bee pollinators in urban San Luis Obispo, California. Cities and the Environment 2(1): 7p.Google Scholar
- Reyes-García, V., L. Calvet-Mir, S. Vila, L. Aceituno-Mata, T. Garnatje, J.J. Lastra, M. Parada, M. Rigat, J. Vallès, and M. Pardo-De-Santayana. 2013. Does crop diversification pay off? An empirical study in home gardens of the Iberian Peninsula. Society & Natural Resources 26(1): 44–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Robbins, P. 2007. Lawn people: How grasses, weeds, and chemicals make us who we are. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
- Shinew, K.J., T.D. Glover, and D.C. Parry. 2004. Leisure spaces as potential sites for interracial interaction: Community gardens in urban areas. Journal of Leisure Research 36(3): 336–355.Google Scholar
- Smith, V.M., R.B. Greene, and J. Silbernagel. 2013. The social and spatial dynamics of community food production: A landscape approach to policy and program development. Landscape Ecology 28(7): 1415–1426.Google Scholar
- Smith, C.M., and H.E. Kurtz. 2003. Community gardens and politics of scale in New York City. Geographical Review 93(2): 20p.Google Scholar
- Tidball, K.G., and M.E. Krasny. 2007. From risk to resilience: What role for community greening and civic ecology in cities? In Social learning: Towards a sustainable world, ed. A.E.J. Wals. Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
- Tucker, D.M. 1993. Kitchen gardening in America: A history. Ames: Iowa State University Press.Google Scholar
- Turner, M. 2009. Ecology: Natural and political. In A companion to environmental geography, eds. N. Castree, D. Demeritt, D. Liverman, and B. Rhoads. New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Vitiello, D., and M. Nairn. 2009. Community gardening in Philadelphia: 2008 harvest report. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Planning and Urban Studies.Google Scholar
- White, M.M. 2011. Sisters of the soil: Urban gardening as resistance in Detroit. Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Contexts 5(1): 13–28.Google Scholar
- Witzling, L., M. Wander, and E. Phillips. 2011. Testing and educating on urban soil lead: A case of Chicago community gardens. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development 1(2): 167–185.Google Scholar
- Zypchyn, K. 2012. Getting back to the garden: Reflections on gendered behaviours in home gardening. Earth Common Journal 2(1): 19p.Google Scholar