Landscape Ecology

, Volume 28, Issue 7, pp 1415–1426 | Cite as

The social and spatial dynamics of community food production: a landscape approach to policy and program development

  • Vincent M. SmithEmail author
  • Robert B. Greene
  • Janet Silbernagel
Landscape Ecology in Practice


Community food production in the form of home gardening, community gardening, school gardening, and urban farming continues to increase in popularity in many parts of the world. This interest has led to public and private investment in community food production and increased need for urban agricultural planning as a way to manage growth and prioritize resource allocation. Municipal planning and thoughtful institutional support for the practice will require program evaluation and greater attention to the spatial composition and configuration of this widely dispersed practice. This article explores the results of community-supported landscape socio-ecological research in Madison, WI (USA) to assess the spatial and social dynamics of community food production. Results indicate that community food production resources are unevenly distributed across the study area. Historic community garden placement does appear to be consistent with community prioritization which dictates placing resources in areas with low median household income. However, home garden presence and recent community garden placement both occur in areas of higher than average median household income. Specific focus is placed on how an understanding of landscape placement and pattern has helped inform attempts to meet municipal and regional objectives in addressing urban food insecurity.


Urban agriculture Urban planning Community food security Community food production Socioeconomics Spatial pattern 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vincent M. Smith
    • 1
    Email author
  • Robert B. Greene
    • 2
  • Janet Silbernagel
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Studies and Department of SociologySouthern Oregon UniversityAshlandUSA
  2. 2.CNMI Coastal Resources Management OfficeSaipanUSA
  3. 3.Department of Landscape Architecture, Nelson Institute for Environmental StudiesUniversity of Wisconsin–MadisonMadisonUSA

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