This study investigates urban agricultural practices in the community gardens in the Bronx, New York City, United States, due to their historical role of helping bring peace and a sense of community to areas that suffered from violence and social injustice. Through semi-structured interviews with the gardeners, visits to observe the gardens, and a spatial analysis of community socio-demographic characteristics using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), we characterize the community gardens visited, and survey the gardeners’ perceptions regarding the benefits and challenges that are involved in the activity. The GISc analysis results showed that there is a much higher rate of poverty in block group populations living within a quarter mile of the community gardens and there is also a significantly higher Hispanic population in block groups living close to the gardens than those further away. The community gardens visited can be characterized as places where the activity of growing plants is a way to socialize within the community, a source of fresh vegetables and fruits, a way to beautify the neighborhood, and a place for education. Regarding the gardeners’ perceptions, it was unanimous that in the garden they enjoy being together with family and community, appreciating nature, and receiving therapeutic benefits that gardening brings. However, some have spoken about their fears of losing the gardens, since they are still not protected by the City, and are prone to take-over by developers.
Ottmann, Michelle Melissa Althaus; Maantay, Juliana A.; Grady, Kristen; and Fonte, Nilce N.
"Characterization of Urban Agricultural Practices and Gardeners’ Perceptions in Bronx Community Gardens, New York City.,"
Cities and the Environment (CATE):
1, Article 13.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cate/vol5/iss1/13