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Household Food Gardening: Its Contribution to Urban Resilience
2015-06, Walsh, Maria, Moore-Cherry, Niamh, Collier, Marcus
This study set out to determine what, if any, role household food gardening (HFG) might play in the development of urban resilience. It presents a qualitative exploration of the place of household food gardening in the lives of twenty gardeners who grow food at home in Dublin. A grounded theory methodology was employed and interviews were conducted in participants’ homes and gardens. Based on the evidence in this study, external concerns about environmental sustainability, financial savings or food quality are very much secondary issues in the decision to grow food at home. By uncovering the overlapping, sometimes supportive and sometimes conflictual relationships, in both the social and natural systems within which the process of HFG occurs, this study provides a more complete conceptualisation of HFG than has been available to date. The findings of this research suggest that urban resilience is strengthened as social capital is developed via the networks of trust and reciprocity through which gardeners exchange knowledge, plants and produce. In addition, the retention of food growing skills within an urban population and a heightened awareness among participants of the importance of healthy ecological systems both increase the adaptive capacity of the city.