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Rethinking Direct Marketing Approaches for Urban Market Gardens
in Low and Moderate Income Neighborhood

There has been a great deal of discussion in the past few years about socially-responsible urban market gardening. But how do such projects fair over time?  What are the educational, economic, and community factors that effect programs seeking to train and employ people in market gardening?  Should these ventures be viewed and evaluated as business, as education, as a social outlet, or any and all of the above?

We are pleased to announce the availability of the report, Rethinking Direct Marketing Approaches for Urban Market Gardens in Low and Moderate Income Neighborhood. This report summarizes a two-year research project conducted by Laura Lawson and Marcia McNally for Berkeley Youth Alternatives and supported by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP) of the University of California, Davis.

The focus of this study has been the Berkeley Youth Alternativesí (BYA) Garden Patch Youth Market Garden Program. Established in 1993 on a half-acre site located in West Berkeley, the Market Garden Program trains and employs at-risk youth to grow and sell organic produce at farmersí markets and elsewhere.  With the goal to improve the programís economic viability, this research project explored two related issues: the fresh produce purchasing and consumption patterns in the surrounding neighborhood and the economic feasibility of a small urban garden.  Data collected through surveys, focus groups, and interviews indicate the neighborsí complex shopping patterns are motivated by the search for quality, affordability, and convenience.  An internal audit of the Market Garden revealed contradictory impulses between business development and educational programs that resulted in inefficiencies in operating the business.

With data in hand, BYA staff, experts, and neighbors agreed that emphasis should be on the gardenís role in youth training instead of profit making.  Thus, a new vision has emerged for the Garden Patch  that of a community laboratory emphasizing the small business learning experiences of youth in direct marketing pursuits.

Through its methodology and its content, the report will be of interest to gardeners, community organizers, educators, urban planners, and others.  To order a copy of the report, please send a check for $20 to cover copying and mailing, payable to Community Development by Design:
Rethinking Direct Marketing Approaches
C/O Community Development by Design
2707 Mathews Street
Berkeley, California 94702

Laura Lawson
Ph.D. candidate
Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning
University of California
Berkeley, California  94720

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