Community Garden Research Paper

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In 1973, the grassroots community group the Green Guerillas wandered their East Village neighborhoods throwing “seed bombs” over fences into vacant lots with restricted public access.

According to the Parks Department, in 1974, the Green Guerillas founded the first community garden—the Bowery-Houston Community Farm and Garden—signing a lease with the Office of Housing Preservation and Development for $1 a month.

Orlove, who is one of the directors of CRED, says the group wanted to study “what motivates people to engage in green infrastructure—to use it, support it, or maintain it.” Community gardens help to combat the heat island effect of the city, and they absorb water during weather events to lessen flooding in a city filled with impervious pavement.

Simpson says the gardens are also “fascinating physical symbols of people creating value and different forms of community in the areas where they live.

The findings In the paper, the team writes that “It is immediately clear from the interview data that the gardens are deeply significant spaces to their members.” The vast majority of gardeners agreed with statements such as, “I am satisfied with the garden,” and “The garden means a lot to me.” Gardeners also indicated that their gardens increase their pride in the neighborhood and make them less likely to move away.

However, almost half of the gardeners reported feeling insecure about the future of their gardens; the researchers noted that this perspective was especially noticeable among members of gardens managed by HPD that could be developed by the city at some point.By the early 1990s, there were around 850 community gardens in New York City.In the late ‘90s, as the city continued to recover economically, the gardens were increasingly threatened by the Giuliani administration’s auctions of garden lots to developers.One particularly poignant moment that the team came across during their field work was a memorial celebration for a garden member who had recently died.The gardeners had set up cards and flowers, and were sharing salsa they had made using vegetables from the garden.During the interviews, the team assessed members’ feelings about their gardens.They investigated the relationship between place attachment—or the positive emotional bond that develops between individuals and their environment—and the various attributes of the gardens.Simpson recalls “riding bikes around East Harlem and getting to know the gardeners and getting a sense of the whole neighborhood.” The inventories took time— about 1.5 hours each—and sometimes required multiple visits, so the researchers got to know the gardens and communities well.To collect social data for the study, the team interviewed gardeners in 16 of the gardens, with up to four gardeners interviewed per interview garden. Google(); req('single_work'); $('.js-splash-single-step-signup-download-button').one('click', function(e){ req_and_ready('single_work', function() ); new c. Community gardens have long been a part of New York City’s alternative spaces.


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