By Esther Veen, PhD student of Rural Sociology
Urban Agriculture is a trendy concept for a lot of recently set up neighbourhood gardens in cities. The goal is to connect people and food again is often said. I researched four neighbourhood gardens, looking specifically at the social and dietary effects for the people involved. While the new gardens are part of a trend, some gardens have a long history of a traditional allotment complex. Especially THOSE gardeners who not necessariy identify themselves as part of an urban agriculture movement, generally harvest large amounts of produce, that they cannot all consume themselves. Many of them therefore share their harvests with friends, families and colleagues. I would like to know where the vegetables go, what part of the vegetates people share and especially, what this means for the people that receive the vegetables. Do they eat everything they are given? Do they share them as well? Do they enjoy the vegetables they are given? Is the fact that the vegetables are free important? And, most importantly, does the fact that these people receive local and fresh produce, influence their view on food and the food system, and to what extent does this strengthen the social relations between the giver and the receiver? This could well be studied using Actor Network Theory; following the vegetables around.
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