Grow your own is emerging as a trendy urban activity. Although allotment gardens often exists for over 50 years, their image is drastically changing. Until recently, these spaces were ignored by any city with promotional aspirations. Rather, they were tolerated at fringes or near railroad tracks. Quite different from the central place ‘community gardens’ are conquering now, increasingly heralded as ‘healthy’ spaces in and for neighborhoods. For a closer connection to nature, for the educational value of food growing, for the connection to better diets, for improvement of the social fabric of the ‘hood’.
What is policy aspiration and what is real in this? An interesting question for sociologists trying to understand contemporary society. Colleague Esther Veen is studying various forms of allotment/community gardens throughout the Netherlands. She is making her research accessible through the blog; www.onderzoekerstadslandbouw.wordpress.com. In Dutch.
Moreover, there are opportunities for students to study specific gardens in The Netherlands, recently a Master Thesis on an allotment garden in Ede was completed. A new research question comes from a garden in Sliedrecht (see blog in Dutch) and also the city of Rotterdam is interested in a city-wide study on the functioning of their community gardens.
For more information on Master Thesis possibilities in this field, please contact Els Hegger; Els.Hegger@wur.nl