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Social value of community gardens

  • Subject: [cg] Social value of community gardens
  • From: Michael J Simsik <mjs245@cornell.edu>
  • Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2002 09:16:18 -0500

Dear Colleagues,

I am interested in knowing if anybody would know of useful bibliographic 
references pertaining to the sociological, cultural and/or political 
aspects of community gardens?  Or, would anyone know about particular 
community garden sites where this question has been considered?

The community gardening program that I work with is considering doing some 
research along these lines, for the purpose of determining the value that 
gardens add to gardener households and their communities.  We are 
interested in examining the additional benefits that community gardens 
provide beyond their immediate economic and ecological benefits.  (Though 
we recognize there are linkages between the former to the latter -- 
social/cultural/political and economic/ecological, and in this sense, the 
latter benefits are certainly relevant).

Some of the potential inquiry questions we are considering include:

·         To what extent is socio-cultural and political-economic knowledge 
produced in community gardens?  How is it characterized and manifested?
·         What and where are the connections between this knowledge in 
gardeners and the community at large?  Who benefits from this knowledge, 
and in what ways?  Who might be threatened by this knowledge?
·         Who are the actors (e.g., institutions, individuals, 
organizations…) that influence (and threaten) the well-being of community 
gardens in urban areas?
·         What are the interests, intents, and motivations that gardeners 
bring to the community gardening experience?
·         What is the social value of community gardens to the communities 
they are a part of?  How does this divide out among gardeners and 
·         To what extent might community gardening sites be 
described/characterized/quantified as sites for the production of 
social/cultural/political knowledge?

Thanks for considering these questions and any suggestions, comments, or 
ideas that you may have are welcome.



Michael J. Simsik, Team Coordinator
Environmental Revitalization & Management Issues Area
Cornell University Cooperative Extension - NYC Programs
16 East 34th Street, 8th Floor
New York, NY  10016-4328
Telephone:  (212) 340-2974
Fax:  (212) 340-2908
Email:  mjs245@cornell.edu
Web: http://www.cce.cornell.edu/nyc/

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