Graduation Year

2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.

Degree Granting Department

Geography

Major Professor

Elizabeth Strom, Ph.D.

Keywords

Urban, Agriculture, History, Social, Impacts

Abstract

Numerous researchers have shown that community gardens have the potential to eliminate social, communal, health, agricultural and economic problems that many in the United States and the rest of the world are facing. Yet, throughout history allotment and community gardens have been seen as improper elements of urban landscapes and used predominately for crisis mitigation and not as sustainable solutions. This thesis shows that the current U.S. community garden movement is inherently different than past unsustainable movements and may establish community gardens as sustainable features of many municipalities in the U.S. This is because the modern U.S. movement is supported by more research and infrastructure than in the past; it is composed of many more social and financial groups; it is sponsored by multiple groups (private, public and non-profit); it incorporates multiple uses; and it was spurred by many unconnected catalysts rather than by a single major crisis. The histories of, and connections between, past movements in the U.S. and the U.K. are validated by extensive documentation and records. Additionally, surveys and interviews were conducted with community gardens in Kansas, New York and Texas and the results of these surveys and interviews indicate the current movement is indeed strong, diverse and expanding.

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