A post by Max van Tilburg (MSc student International Development)
The nature of urban agriculture; initiatives in Lansing and Detroit, Michigan, United States
Urban agriculture over the past decennium has become very popular in the Western World, this brings up questions about the commonality between all these different initiatives. This question stood at the basis of my master thesis, and was translated to whether urban agriculture initiatives in Lansing and Detroit (Michigan, USA) could be seen as (being part of) a social movement.
Although the history and (organizational) background of the urban agriculture initiatives in Lansing and Detroit are very diverse, the similarity in practices, ideas and ideologies (both displayed in shared discourses and themes) was remarkably high. It turned out that community building with all its aspects is a first order concern for the initiatives, neighborhood organizations, a soup kitchen, private farmers, all practiced and expressed a major concern about working on the community.
On the overall I arrived at a point were I more or less hypothesize the same as Touraine (1998) did in his research on social movements; “that their ‘real’ purpose was a broad-based effort to oppose the corporate and government technocrats who initiated and directed most social change”.
Read more in my thesis!