Community gardens vary in several ways: they are cultivated by different kinds of communities in various locations, entail individual or communal plots and the extent of active participation (e.g. gardening) differs. In this paper, we study seven community gardens with varying organisational designs and objectives, and investigate the extent to which these influence the enhancement of social cohesion. We also take into account to what extent differences in motivation among community gardeners matter. Despite these differences in motivation, however, we find that in all of the cases studied, people talk to and get to know others, and mutual help is widespread. We, therefore, conclude that community gardens contribute to the development of social cohesion – even if people are not particularly driven by social motivations. Moreover, while participants who are motivated by the social aspects of gardening naturally show a higher level of appreciation for them, these social aspects also bring added value for those participants who are motivated primarily by growing vegetables.
- Community gardening
- social cohesion