The number of gardening-based mental health interventions is increasing, yet when the literature was last reviewed in 2003, limited evidence of their effectiveness was identified. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the current evidence-base for gardening-based mental health interventions and projects through examining their reported benefits and the quality of research in this field.
Community-based efforts are essential to address urban social–ecological challenges. Here, we focus on French community gardens. Through participant observation and semistructured interviews, this study seeks to provide empirical evidence on: (1) what motivates volunteer gardeners in French community gardens to undertake this activity, (2) what practices take place in the gardens, and (3) which individual and collective processes are associated with gardeners' experiences in the gardens. Through these questions, we aim to understand how these initiatives relate to environmental stewardship. Our results show that environmental, social, and self-motivations are the drivers behind gardeners' participation in the gardens. It seems that involvement in the gardens provides opportunities to fulfill those needs and/or motives through different interrelated processes between the individual with him/herself, the human collective, and nature such as: contemplating nature and benefiting from sensory experiences, having access to environmental education, experiencing individual and collective organization, renewing social–ecological relationships, and facing local challenges. We note that French community gardens provide arenas for new experiences of nature. In addition, even if gardens’ biophysical features and gardening practices allow a series of processes that provide social and ecological benefits and outcomes, these gardens refer to environmental stewardship practices by cultivating relational values. These values provide opportunities for innovative ways of creative conservation, reflecting how care for ourselves extends to care for others, for places, and for nature.
Urban gardening (UG) as a component of urban agriculture (UA) has reached popularity during the last decades. This growing interest depends on several factors including the different functions that have been attributed to UG over the years, operating from the economic to the social, health and cultural levels. While multifunctionality of UG is well documented, only a few studies investigated individual gardeners' motivations, which can be subjective and heavily affected by the local context in which it takes place. The paper aims to detect some peculiar features of Milan city gardeners, in order to highlight the motivations of their activity through an innovative and replicable approach based on multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) and hierarchical clustering analysis (HCA). The analysis has been applied to the Milan case study, in the North of Italy; the results suggest a great importance of the social component of UG, and trace some different gardeners' profiles.
Urban migrant women worldwide utilize a creative combination of food insecurity coping strategies to procure food for themselves and their families. Using in-depth interviews with 72 migrant women in Medellín, Colombia, and Washington, DC, this paper argues that in low-income urban communities these everyday strategies can further their demands for autonomy in determining what foods they produce and consume. Relying on feminist geography and food sovereignty literature, this research explores how migrant women living in poverty rely on informal networks for growing and sharing food, seek out organic, fresh foods, and utilize independent survival strategies to counter exclusionary rhetoric and a food system they view as unhealthy. In doing so, they devise alternative urban imaginaries of a more democratic food system. This research contributes a more nuanced understanding of the food insecurity experiences of urban migrant women.
"Civic agriculture is an approach to agriculture and food production that—in contrast with the industrial food system—is embedded in local environmental, social, and economic contexts. Alongside proliferation of the alternative food projects that characterize civic agriculture, growing literature critiques how their implementation runs counter to the ideal of civic agriculture. This study assesses the relevance of three such critiques to urban farming, aiming to understand how different farming models balance civic and economic exchange, prioritize food justice, and create socially inclusive spaces. Using a case study approach that incorporated interviews, participant observation, and document review, I compare two urban farms in Baltimore, Maryland—a "community farm" that emphasizes community engagement, and a "commercial farm" that focuses on job creation. Findings reveal the community farm prioritizes civic participation and food access for low-income residents, and strives to create socially inclusive space. However, the farmers' "outsider" status challenges community engagement efforts. The commercial farm focuses on financial sustainability rather than participatory processes or food equity, reflecting the use of food production as a means toward community development rather than propagation of a food citizenry. Both farms meet authentic needs that contribute to neighborhood improvement, though findings suggest a lack of interest by residents in obtaining urban farm food, raising concerns about its appeal and accessibility to diverse consumers. Though not equally participatory, equitable, or social inclusive, both farms exemplify projects physically and philosophically rooted in the local social context, necessary characteristics for promoting civic engagement with the food system."