Home-based edible gardening is defined as individual households growing food on their own property. In the Global North, home-based edible gardens have recently been identified as an important part of urban sustainability initiatives, given the relatively large area of residential yard space available for food production in most cities. Yet basic questions around households’ decisions to participate in home-based edible gardening have not been fully examined, making the likelihood of meeting home-based gardens’ potential unclear. This study explores the motivations and barriers associated with home-based edible gardening through in-depth interviews with growers and non-growers. The study area is four neighborhoods in Mississauga (Ontario, Canada) that captures households with diverse socio-demographic backgrounds. Seven motivating themes were identified through the interviews, with food used for cooking or an enjoyable hobby the motivations most commonly given by interview participants. All motivating themes were related to personal benefits, with little mention of the broader benefits identified in the urban sustainability literature. On the other hand, lack of time and shading were the most common barriers identified, although a total of 13 different themes emerged from the interviews. Both current growers and non-growers identified barriers, with the majority of non-growers having previously abandoned home-based edible gardens. The disconnect between residents’ statements and the benefits attributed to home gardens in the sustainability literature, along with the high rate of edible gardening abandonment captured in this case, identifies challenges to encouraging residents to not only start growing food, but also ensure they continue to tend edible gardens over the long-term.
Conway, Tenley M.
"Home-based Edible Gardening: Urban Residents’ Motivations and Barriers,"
Cities and the Environment (CATE):
1, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cate/vol9/iss1/3