Urban gardening has long promised radical alternatives to industrialised food production and the organisation of modern urban spaces. Yet despite recent increases in popularity and a conspicuous proliferation of its forms, urban gardening appears to have had minimal material influence on how we eat or how we live.
It is now time to ask what the future holds for urban gardening. What evidence is emerging of urban gardening’s social and environmental impacts? Can such forms really mitigate some of the major crises of our times – from mental illness and unemployment to the unsustainability of our food systems – or do they remain a fringe concern? And what changes – at the level of policy or grassroots mobilisation (or otherwise) – are required to maximise the impact and reach of future iterations of urban gardening?
This conference seeks to put critical – but constructive – pressure on some of the assumptions which underlie current theory and practice of urban gardening; as such, the conference organisers welcome papers encompassing a broad range of approaches and perspectives (whether research-, practitioner- or participant-orientated) considering the past, present and future of urban gardening. The conference will take the UK as its main focus but will accommodate international perspectives where possible. Papers might address, though not be limited to, the following topics:
- Community gardens
- Community supported agriculture
- Urban and peri-urban food production
- The cultural representation of urban gardens
- Urban gardening and…
– local/national food policy
– grassroots activism
– food production
– mental health
– town planning
– environmental sustainability
– economic sustainability
– emergency food aid
Following the conference, speakers and delegates are encouraged to submit papers to a proposed special issue with the journal,Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, subject to the peer-review process.