BY Olivia Hamilton, Amy Lawton, Kristine Aquino

This report outlines the research findings from the study entitled ‘Culture, community and sustainable food practices: a study of community gardens in Blacktown LGA’. The study is a collaboration between WESTIR Limited (Western Sydney Information and Research Service) and University of Technology Sydney. The research aims to examine community gardens as social sites where people from culturally diverse backgrounds interact. The practice of gardening at these sites allows people to negotiate their cultural differences and build community as well as develop their knowledge and skills in sustainable food practices. A total of four (4) community garden sites were explored within Blacktown LGA, studying a mix of government, non-government and community-led initiatives. Fieldwork, including participant observation and 28 semi-structured interviews, was undertaken through 2016 and into the first months of 2017. The report contains a literature review of key literature in the study of community gardens, sustainability, and multiculturalism. The findings of this study present a valuable insight into the social impacts of community gardens in Western Sydney, adding to a growing body of research in Australia and around the world.

Analysis of the fieldwork is presented across five themes:

  • Theme 1: Purposes of the gardens
  • Theme 2: Community and place
  • Theme 3: Encountering and negotiating cultural diversity
  • Theme 4: Food and environmental sustainability
  • Theme 5: Future role of gardens
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