Can home gardens scale up into movements for social change? The role of home gardens in providing food security and community change in San Jose, California

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Taylor & Francis


Urban policymakers and sustainable food activists have identified urban agriculture as an important strategy for confronting a host of urban problems, including food insecurity, health disparities, access to urban green space and community economic revitalisation. Much recent work on urban agriculture has examined community and school gardens, but little research has been undertaken on home gardens as a solution to urban problems. This article examines a home-gardening programme in San Jose, California, La Mesa Verde, asking whether some of the benefits found in community gardens can be found in home gardens. Specifically, we look at financial, health and community benefits, examining the potential of home gardens to become forces for broader social change. We ask whether gardens can become agents of cultural preservation, self-determination, particularly for recent immigrants who use these spaces to build identities and work towards collective action and self-determination.