Date of this Version


Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Published version

McVey, D., Nash, R., & Stansbie, P. (2018). The motivations and experiences of community garden participants in Edinburgh, Scotland. Regional Studies, Regional Science, 5(1), 40-56.

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Copyright © 2018 The Author(s).

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




This paper involves three Community Gardens in Edinburgh and investigates the role that food growing plays in the participant’s recreation and leisure activities, personal development, the development of their children and their communities. Thirty-eight participants were interviewed using qualitative, semi-structured questions to explore their motivations and experiences. Participant observation was used to better understand the importance of the gardens in their lives. The participants felt the gardens were places that fostered neighbourly engagement, increased leisure opportunities, social support, community health, connectedness, and community diversity. They were also places that promoted knowledge exchange inside the garden and in to the homes of the people and the community itself. Anxieties over land use and land reform highlighted how community gardens symbolised empowerment but also showed resistance to the hegemonic structure of local council and government. In effect, the research suggests that community gardens grow much more than just food, they grow community.

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This document has been peer reviewed.


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