This item is only available as the following downloads:
CULTIVATING COMMUNITY: AN ETHOGRAPHY OF ORANGE BLOSSOM COMMUNITY GARDEN BY ANASTASIA SALLEN A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Social Sciences New College of Florida In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Ar ts in Anthropology Under the s ponsorship of Erin Dean Sarasota, Florida May 2010
! """ Acknowledgements I dedicate this thesis to my grandmother Patricia Coolican. To Erin Dean, for advising me through the thesis process. Thank you for your warmth and support and for introducing me the glorious discipline of anthropology. To all of the gardeners at Orange Blossom Community Garden who made this thesis possible. Thank you for sharing your experiences and knowledge with me. To Barbara and Gail. Thank you for your guidance and support throughout this process. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and the bounty of your garden with me. Your strength inspires me. To my family. Thank you for your unfailing love and support. Mom, yours are the arms that I want to run to when I am sad. Thank you for always being there when I need you. Jane, your beauty never ceases to ama ze me thank you for being an amazing sister. To all my friends who have been there when the weight of my thes is seemed too heavy. To Hannah: for your words of wisdom and magical teas. To Becky: For your laughter. To Annie: for your green thumb. To June: for your heartfelt music. Special thanks to the Ladies of the Beet: Chrissy, Caitlin, and Izzy. Thank you for cultivating the beautiful, supportive community that is our home. Many thanks to Tony Andrews and Maria Vesperi for shaping my academic experien ce and serving on my committee.
! "# Table of Contents Photo Page..ii Acknowledgements ...iii Table of Contents ..iv Abstract v i Introduction and Methodology .1 Chapter 1: A Historical Foundation ... 8 A Brief History of Community Gardening in the United States 8 New Roots for Rosemary Community Garden .. 13 The Transition to Orange Blossom Community Garden ... 16 Chapter 2: Why Look at Space ? 20 Exclusion in the City: An Issue of Access 21 The Fence as a Barrier .. 25 The Social Construction of Empty Space .. 27 Public Space: What Makes Space Public? ...................................... ...................... 29 Space v. Place 33 The Individual Plot Structure 36 Chapter 3: Constructing Place: The Community Gardening Experience 39 Master Gardeners and Obtaining a Plot at Orange Blossom Community Garden 40 Rules and Regulations 47 Community and Community Gardening ... 51 Values of Community Gardening 54 Why Do People Com munity Garden? ............................................ ..................... .. 57 Diversity within the Garden: Gardening Techniques and Styles .. 64 Gardener Interaction .. 70 Communal Space and Communal Resources ... 74 Chapter 4: The Red evelopment of Newtown: Concerns of Gentrification ... 77 Social Construction of Space: The Gardeners' Views of Newtown .. 78 The History of Newtown ... 84 Community Gardens and Revitalization: Situating Orange Blossom Community Garden within Newtown's Redevelopment 88 Gentrification 92 A View of the Future: The Role Community Gardens Can Play in Newtown's Redevelopment .... 96 Chapter 5: Cultivating Community 102 Defining "Community" and "Community Gardening" Revisited ... 105 Connections to Community Organizing .. 108 Current Projects .. 110 The Future: Nurturing Bonds with Co mmunity Organizations... 118 Conclusion .. 120 Appendices ..122 Appendix I: List of Interviewees.. 122 Appendix II: Sample Interview Questions ...123
! # Appendix III: Aerial View of Rosemary Community Garden .124 Appendix IV: Aerial View of Orange Avenue Park 125 Appendix V: Initial Map of Orange Blossom Community Garden 126 Appendix VI: Map of Orange Blossom Community Garden and Rosemary Community Garden in Sarasota ... .. 127 Appendix VII: Current Map of Orange Blossom Community Garden 128 Appendix VIII: Map of Newtown Community Redevelopment Area's Boundaries .. 129 Appendix IX: Map of Organizations Surrounding Ora nge Blossom Community Garden 130 References...131
vi CULTIVATING COMMUNITY: AN ETHNOGRAPHY OF ORANGE BLOSSOM COMMUNITY GARDEN Anastasia Sallen New College of Florida, 2010 ABSTRACT This thesis explores community gardens as constructed and contested space. The case study is an ethnography of the Orange Blossom Community Garden and the surrounding community of Sarasota, Florida. Through the use of participant observation and interviews with both members of the Orange Blossom Community Garden and people from the surrounding area, I look at issues of access in regards to community garden space. I explore the physical as well as metaphorical relationships between the garden space and social practices and systems. Through examining community gardens as sites where people have a hand in shaping public space, co nstructing place out of space, I look at possibilities for coalition building and neighborhood revitalization. I hope to provide insight into the process of entering a community and creating a new community within it. Dr. Erin Dean Division of Social Sciences
! Introduction Orange Blossom Community Garden. Photo by author. Walking into Orange Blossom community garden in August 2009, I was amazed at how established the ga rden had become. Where there had been only a fence surrounding a section of grass, interspersed with tree s and water spigots, a garden had truly taken root. To the right a pineapple garden that I had helped construct was flourishing. Huge heaps of compost and mulch wer e being nibbled away wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow into gardeners' plots. Florida style sandy soil was slowly building, becom ing dark and moist. Fruit trees bordered the fence, with unripe citrus hanging from fragile limbs, peaking out from green leaves. Florida's growing season was just getting started, and most of the registered gardeners had no t yet started preparing their plots deterred b y the remnants of summer heat. Yet t o my eyes it seemed as if harvestable growth was everywhere. Orange Blossom Community G arden occupies the eastern part of Orange Av enue Park The garden houses two tool s heds full of gardening tools roughly 50 garden plots, 3 picnic tables, assorted benches and chairs a fenced in children's gardening area, and is
! # in the process of building a shade house. What was once simply open park space has become a patchwork of garden plots. Through the med ium of ethnography, I will explore Orange Blossom CG as constructed and contested spa ce. According to Ali Madanipour: City design and development becomes a continuous process of projection and contestation, in which some groups project an identity for a place and others accept or contest that identity, either by consciously transgressing the boundaries that this process sets, or by ignoring it knowingly or unknowingly The place takes on a life of its ow n, one that may be very different from what was intended, through c onformity, accident or defiance (Madanipour 2010: 239). As socia l l y produced and constructed space within the urban environment, community gardens fit into this system of projection and co ntestation. Using my research at Orange Blossom Community Garden and the surrounding community of Sarasota Florida, I examine these issues of space. Orange Blossom CG is an interesting case when it comes to community gardens and spatial access. While mo st gardens occupy pieces of land that were previously vacant lots, Orange Blossom CG occupies land that was already public park space. Additionally, while the popular narrative of community gardens usually involve a community getting together to reclaim a de relict space to improve their neighborhood, Orange Blossom CG tells the story of a displaced community garden. Orange Bloss om CG is derived from Rosemary CG a garden that lost its land and fought to put down new roots in a different neighborhood. This cre ates an interesting dynamic, where a garden was introduced to rather than developed by the community in which in resides. In examining Orange Blossom CG, this thesis explores the multifacet ed nature of community gardens, exploring both the ways that comm unity gardens fit into existing
! $ p ower structures and the ways they break them down. In my own experience in reading ethnographies, I have been frustrated with how many explain problematic power dynamics but leave the reader wondering what can be done to ma ke positive change. To me it is important to both examine the social processes that are already taking place, as well as to look at how negative systems of power can be broken down or subverted. The roots of this thesis lie in my first year at New College of Florida and a tutorial entitled Urban Agriculture. The course was taught by E va Worden, an adjunct professor and cofounder and owner of Worden Farm. As a first year student, this class not only opened my eyes to issues related to urban gardening and fo od security, but introduced me to Sarasota and environmentally focused projects in the area. The course combined readings focused on urban agriculture and a hands on project concerned with the relocation of Rosemary CG. As a participant in the tutorial, I was offered a chance to participate in the shaping of a new community garden out of the legacy of the Rosemary CG. My first year was a pivotal time for Rosemary CG. The gardeners had just found out that they would be losing the garden and were in the proc ess of negotiating with the city for a new garden site. I had the incredible opportunity to visit Rosemary CG when it was still flourishing, despite the news of its demolition. My contribution to the project took on various forms. I documented the Rosema ry CG site and the new site through photography. Through interviews, I gathered gardener input for the new garden site's master plan. I took soil samples to verify that the new site did not contain hazardous materials. The most memorable part of this ex perience was talking to the gardeners who knew that they were losing their space in the
! % Rosemary District. The bitterness at their imminent loss was expected, but their excitement for the future and their contributions to the plan for the new garden were beautiful to witness. My link to Rosemary CG and Orange Blossom CG has persisted since my first year at New College. Through my involvement with the Alliance for Responsible Transportation, I organized bike rides that led groups to each of the community gardens. I have attended gardening work days and gardening talks at Orange Blossom CG. The history I have shared with the garden in many ways made it a natural thesis topic for me; I already had a strong bond with Barbara Powell Harris and Gail Harvey (th e main organizers within the garden, whose roles will be discussed in further detail later), which made getting permission easy and enjoyable. Barbara and Gail made the process of data collection comfortable for me because they were very accessible and he lpful. They introduced me to many of the gardeners and often pointed me in the right direction when I was looking for information they couldn't provide. The only drawback to my past involvement with Orange Blossom CG was that I worried it might affect m y ability to be objective and critical of the garden. Within the discipline of anthropology there is always a struggle to remain objective, something that should be strived for, but true objectivity is impossible. A person always carries their previous e xperiences and knowledge with them. This goal of objectivity was consistently in my mind, and I think that I was able to nicely balance my appreciation for the garden with critique. The majority of my data collection was done through participant observation and informal interviews. During the course of my research, I helped people pull weeds while
! & we talked, seeded seed trays, spread fertilizer, and hauled countless wheelbarrows of compost and mulch. Eventually, I got my own plot at Orange Bloss om CG. In this way I got the experience of being a real part of the community garden, rather than being just a peripheral researcher. As a member of the garden, I helped with the upkeep of communal space and helped initiate some projects that Barbara and Gail had been planning but did not have the time to carry out. The first project I helped with was the Boys and Girls Club gardening program. I also helped get the Grassroots Food Pantry planted (I will go into further detail about these projects later in this thesis). This method of data collection was essential to my thesis project because the hands on experience of gardening is central to the vision of community gardening. Through active participation in the garden and communal gardening projects, I feel I gained a level of rapport and general understanding of the community gardening experience that I would not have achieved otherwise. I interviewed many but not all of the gardeners at Orange Blossom CG in some form (S ee Appendix I fo r a list of interviewees ) I had a series of questions that I used as a starting point, but through practice I came to appreciate a free form interviewing style where the interviewee could guide the intervie w if they wanted (S ee Appendix II for a list of sample quest ions). I also interviewed a few members of the Newtown community connected to the Newtown revitalization effort. The final part of my data collection process came from census data, documentation of the history of the Newtown area of which Orange Blossom CG is a part, and other documents associated with the Newtown Community Redevelopment Area Plan. Through these means, I collected social and historical narratives of the urban gardening experience at Orange Blossom CG and Rosemary CG. Through this thesis I
! hope to present these narratives to the reader, introducing the community, their vision of community gardening, and how these visions manifest in practice. In chapter one, I present a brief history of Community Gardening in the United States. I look at both how the focus of community gardens have changed from the 1890s to present, but also how some themes within community gardening as a movement have remained consistent. I examine three themes: 1) gardens as "nature" in the city; 2) education; and 3) gar dens as democratic space. I end the chapter with a short history of Rosemary CG and its new beginning in Orange Blossom CG. In chapter two, I present the importance of examining space within the discussion of access to public space in general and communit y gardens in particular. I argue that there is currently a trend of spatial privatization within urban design that has permeated public space. I explain that in many ways this trend is connected to a neoliberal market paradigm. In chapter three, I explore the way that community gardens construct place out of space. I look at the meaning Orange Blossom CG holds for its gardens, exploring the diversity that exists within the garden, but also the common themes that are present. In chapter four, I examine the ways in which the gardeners view the neighborhood adjacent to Orange Blossom CG. I look at the issue of gentrification in relation to community gardens through the lens of the Newtown Community Redevelopment Area Plan, pondering the ways in which Orange B lossom CG can be used to achieve some of the goals of the plan. I argue that community gardens have both the ability to act as a gentrifying force and to actively resist gentrification.
! ( Finally, in chapter five, I look at the ways in which Orange Blossom CG is reaching out to the Newtown community. I present the visions some of the gardener's have for the future of the garden and suggest conclusions for how this could potentially impact both the community garden and the surrounding area.
! Chapter 1 A Historical Foundation A Short History of Community Gardening in the United States Community gardening has had a long and evolving history in the United States. In this chapter, I will briefly describe the changes in focus that community gardening has undergone since its beginnings. For this section, I used City Bountiful: A Century of C ommunity Gardening in America by Laura J. Lawson, assistant professor of landscape architecture at the University of Illinois, as my main text. Lawson's book provides a long and detailed history of community gardening in the United States, from the 1890s to the present. Through examining the history of the community gardening movement, I hope to illuminate the ways in which the history of Orange Blossom CG mirrors trends and themes in community gardening seen around the country. Law son segments the histor y of urban community gardening into 5 periods. She starts in the 1890s, when the first urban community gardens emerged based on the theory of environmental determinism, which was popular at the time. These first gardens were started with the goal of soci al reform, and the idea that bringing "nature" into the city would bring about positive change through changing the urban environment. The second period of urban gardening began at the start of the First World War with the intent of augmenting the national food supply so more food could be sent oversees to the troops. This period of urban gardening called upon people's patriotism, asking people to plant gardens in their own backyards and in communal efforts.
! # By 1934, around 23 million households in the Uni ted States were involved in some kind of subsistence gardening program; this marked the economic depression of the 1930's (Lawson 2005: 2). Gardening during this period was taken up as a means of economic support and subsistence (Pudup 2008: 1229). The s tart of World War II brought an end to the economic depression, but brought with it a new call for urban garden programs. Victory Gardens sprouted up again as a response to the patriotic call. People planted gardens for their own consumption and to boost morale during the war (Bentley 1998). The end of the Depression era and World War II brought about yet another shift in the focus of urban gardening programs. Early gardens were promoted as a means of dealing with economic issues; they were used to prov ide a level of economic support for people in need (Pudup 2008: 1229). At the end of World War II, gardening programs directed attention to the psychological and recreational benefits of urban gardening (Lawson 2005). The 1970s brought about an even lar ger shift in the focus of community gardening. Previously, there was a more top down approach to the development of urban gardens, but the 1970s concentrated the urban gardening movement on grassroots activism and the idea of community and community build ing. According to Lawson: The term community garden, which had been used in earlier phases of urban garden promotion, took on a broader meaning in the 1970s. Previously, the term had ref erred to a type of garden site a large property divided into ind ividual gardens With the resurgence of urban gardens in the 1970s, the community garden was not only a type of garden, but also stood as an expression of grassroots activism. Faced with racial tension, a declining urban population, abandoned propert ies, and urban renewal projects that were tearing neighborhoods apart, local residents and activists sought to reclaim and rebuild communities and expand the open
! $% space resources in their neighborhoods through gardening The focus was on community the community of gardeners who designed and maintained the garden, as well as the impact of the garden on the neighborhood, city, and larger society. Gardens added resiliency to deteriorated social and physical infrastructure through new social networks that worked toward physical and social reclamation (Lawson 2005: 206). During the earlier years of community gardening, especially during the war years, many gardens were formed by government programs as a way of dealing with temporary need. For example, plan ting victory gardens was a means for dealing with rationing. During the 1970s, a trend emerged within the urban gardening community to connect community gardening and its principles to larger societal issues in reaction to the overall urban decline that w as clearly visible to residents in the city at the time (Pudup 2008: 1230). Lawson explains that the urban decline seen in the 1970s was long in the making; a result of the suburban development boom after WWII. While urban centers were losing factori es and blue collar employment, the development of the suburbs lead to a shift in skilled jobs to the urban peripheries. Discrimination and the location of public housing in urban centers in essence trapped people of lower incomes and minority groups in th e declining inner city, as those with means escaped to the suburbs. To urban planners and politicians, "the solution was urban renewal through clearing blighted areas and developing them anew" (Lawson 2005: 218). Large areas of urban space were cleared of buildings that made up neighborhoods (Schmelzkopf 1995: 365). Cleared land lay fallow as cities waited for capital to redevelop. In an effort to take the responsibility of the maintenance of these empty lots off the city, "state and municipal official s developed adopt a lot programs, squatter programs and other incentives usually with the hope that the sites would eventually
! $$ be reclaimed for development" (Lawson 2005: 219). There were still some top down policies shaping program development, but community leadership developed within the garden in regards to community outreach, day to day maintenance, the negotiating and procuring of resources, and protection when faced with the threat of garden demolition. Additionally, many early programs were s tarted without any government support and were truly grassroots in nature (Schmelzkopf 1995). This fits in with a period of roll back neoliberalism, where voluntary initiatives filled the gap of state sponsored programs, to deal with community needs (Peck and Tickell 2002). According to Ma r y Beth Pudup, associate professor of community studies at UC Santa Cruz, the history of the community gardening suggests that they have been a response to cycles of cap italist restructuring and its tendency to displace p eople and places through investment processes governing industries and urban space" (Pudup 2008: 1229). This brief history of community gardening movements illuminates the change in focus over time in community gardening programs. It ultimately shows that throughout history, community gardens have acted as "a buffering mechanism which has helped support the cultural system during periods of social and economic stress" (Basset in Pudup 2008: 1229). Throughout the evolution of the community gardening m ovement, there are some main themes regarding community gardening that have persisted. Lawson lays out 3 main themes that have been associated with community gardening: 1) gard ens as "nature" in the city; 2) education; and 3) garden space as democratic sp ace. The idea of gardens as nature in the city fits into the juxtaposition of urban and rural that has been pervasive throughout the rise of the city and urban life. According to Law son, gardens are often seen as "a foil to urban conditions," and a remedy for urban
! $& stresses (2005: 289). The idealization of an agrarian lifestyle is enmeshed in the cultural history of the United States. This ideal is laden with values of self reliance, hard work, democracy and virtuous citizenship (Pudup 2008: 1230). The u rban garden is seen as a place where we can learn the lessons of nature and connect with the natural in a way that is otherwise not possible in an urban environment. The second theme Lawson describes is that of education (2005: 7). Community gardens thro ughout their history have been connected to the idea of hands on learning. Community gardens are seen as places where one can learn practical skills through hands on experience in a way that instills a value of civic mindedness and a strong work ethic. T his view is especially relevant to children' s gardens, a component that many urban gardening programs include today. A vision of teaching kids skills that will help them in the future has carried over throughout the history of community gardening. The t hird theme is the portrayal of garden space as a democratic space that brings a diverse group of people together (2005: 8). Community gardens are viewed as spaces in which community is built through bringing people together who might not otherwise come int o contact. This theme elicits an idea of equality and knowledge s haring and also encompasses ideas of self help and individualism that are pervasive in many community gardens. People like the idea of making their own situation better, not through charity but through their own efforts, developing a sense of self respect (Schmelzkopf 1995: 359). The vision of garden space as democratic space elicits a vision of people working together on equal terms for self betterment. Due to their persistent nature, th ese three themes are clearly key to the vision of a community garden. Later in this thesis, I will come back to these themes to explore the
! $' different visions of community gardens and community gardening, and how Orange Blossom CG does or does not fit into these visions. This next section explores the history of Orange Blossom CG, a history that is intertwined with the legacy of Rosemary CG. New Roots for Rosemary: A History of Orange Blossom Community Garden Lawson's discussion of the decline of urban centers and connections to the rise of urban gardening projects during the 1970s nicely reflects the situations that led to the formation of the Rosemary CG in the heart of Sarasota. In the 1980s, a lot of land was purchased by the City of Sarasota with re development funds. The city had the money to purchase the property, but did no t have the money to fund the actual redevelopment at the time. Rosemary CG was initially conceived to alleviate the maintenance of one of these pieces of land that lay vacant in the Rosemary District. Rosemary CG was formerly located on 6th Street near Downtown Sarasota in the Rosemary District (See Append ix III for an aerial view of Rosemary CG) The Garden had been around for 13 years before the C ity of Sarasota decided to re appropriate the land for the construction of affordable housing. According to Barbara Powell Harris and Gail Harvey, Orange Blossom CG's site coordinators, The author at Rosemary CG before its demolition Photo by Annie Farrell.
! $( affordable housing became an attractive option because of the rise in the area's property values. Before the Rosemary CG was created, ideas abo ut having a green space where people could grow food began circulating amongst the regular customers of The Granary, a health food store located downtown. According to Barbara, The Granary was a place where "pretty much anybody who had any green thoughts m et up with anybody else who had green thoughts." Before Rosemary CG became established, it was an open lot owned by the City of Sarasota. The lot had originally been purchased by the city with the intention of building affordable housing, but was never dev eloped because funds ran out and no plan had actually been drafted. As the lot fell into disuse, Keep Sarasota County Beautiful, an agency run out of Sarasota County's Solid Waste Division, suggested that the area could be used for a community garden. The agency eventually received a $50,000 grant to establish Rosemary CG. After having read about the community garden in a public service announcement featured in The Granary newsletter, Barbara and many other gardeners received their first plots in October of 1995. Gail, on the other hand, had been growing vegetables in five gallon buckets in her backyard when she eventually decided to go on a search for a more communal space to garden. By chance she found Rosemary CG when she was driving one day. She called the number on the fence and had her own plot by early December 1995. It was November 2005 when the gardeners of Rose mary CG first learned that the C ity of Sarasota was going to use the land to build affordable housing. By this time Barbara and Gail had b een gardening there for 12 years, and after having become Master
! $) Gardeners, were actively taking part in managerial activities. On November 6 th 2006, without notifying Rosemary CG's gardeners or any neighbors, the Sarasota City Commission held a "ten minu te discussion" to consider the garden land as a potential site for affordable housing. The commission was acting to apply for a grant with "a mid December deadline and the allure of $5 million" (Miller 2006). The most disturbing aspect of the commissioners decision was that they had not notified the gardeners that they were considering redeveloping the land. Therefore, no one was at the meeting to ask the city commission questions about alternatives. As Jono Miller points out in his article concerning the commission's decision, this is important because it represent s poor public outreach in urban planning decisions (Miller 2006). It was only by chance that members of the community garden found out about the city's plan; while reading an article about "doggi e dining" Gail noticed that the author, in the last couple of lines, made mention of the City Commission's decision to shut the garden down. The city's plan to build affordable housing has since fallen through, though the garden was relocated. Despite havi ng had no formal notification that they were losing their land, Gail and Barbara sprang into action. They, along with a number of Rosemary's community gardeners and a small army of concerned citizens, began rallying community support through phone calls an d emails to city hall. They attended meetings of the City Commission and wrote petitions. Gail reminisced about the city's reaction: "I don't think they realized that anyone would care." Gail told me that she had not realized community gardening was a fo rm of activism until she read about Rosemary CG 's imminent demolition and started rallying support for the defense of the garden. She told me "I had no idea how important the
! $* garden was to the general public, it just amazed me." Barbara and Gail were asto unded at the amount of people who came to commission meetings in support of the garden who did not have a plot at Rosemary CG. They told me that the high turnout was a testament to the importance of community gardens to the larger public. City Hall receive d 200 calls and emails in support of a community garden with 35 plots. Barbara quoted a leader involved with New York City's community gardens saying "community gardening: 50 percent gardening, 100 percent p olitical." Despite huge community support, the city stood by its decision, declaring that the land was too valuable to be a community garden. The Transition to Orange Blossom Community Garden Due to the community's efforts, Barbara and Gail were able t o secure land for the relocation of Rosemary CG, as well as $25,000 from the City of Sarasota to fund the construction of an underground pipe system and fence. The site was chosen after Barbara and Gail had joined forces with Eva Worden. As mentioned earl ier, the class helped determine what the ideal site for the garden would be and helped with the design process of the new garden. Rosemary CG's gardeners encountered problems when trying to find a The remnants of Rosemary CG. Photo by author.
! $+ new space for their relocation. Many of the spaces the City offered were in the gardeners' opinion, not ideal spaces for community gardens. Some spaces occupied contaminated soil, while others were isolated from neighborhood community. The gardeners at Rosemary CG ultimately decided to relocate to a site that occupies park land on the corner of Orange Avenue and 18 th Street (See Appendix IV for an aerial view of the Orange Avenue Park). They decided on this site for a number of reasons. In response to their loss of Rosemary CG's land, land security was their primary concern. As designated park land, the Orange Blossom CG site cannot be devel oped. Orange Blossom CG does not have to worry about being displaced by condos. Another reason they chose the site was because it occupies more land than the Rosemary CG site did, giving them room to increase their number of individual plots in addition to leaving open space for socialization and communal projects. This was very important to Barbara and Gail because they wanted to have enough space to integrate new gardeners from the community, while still housing relocated gardeners from Rosemary CG. Barba ra and Gail found the community around Orange Avenue Park appealing because it provided an opportunity for outreach projects. Ground was broken at the Orange Blossom CG site in the summer of 2007 (See Appendix V for an initial spatial plan for Orange Bloss om CG developed by the students from New College's Urban Agriculture Tutorial). Many of the community gardeners who moved to the Orange Blossom CG site from Rosemary CG are very nostalgic and speak fondly of the tight knit community that once existed there Celia and her husband Otilio Arroyo were one of the couples who moved to Orange Blossom CG from Rosemary CG. Celia spoke of the quality of the soil, how nutrient rich it was in comparison to the sandy soil at Orange Blossom CG. S he
! $" explained that "the soil [at Orange Blossom CG] still needs to be built up." Celia remarked on how everything at Rosemary CG was already in place. The garden had a homey, cozy feel. The location of Rosemary CG was more convenient for her and her husband; they lived within wal king distance and could see their plot from their window. Originally Celia and Otilio had decided not to move with the garden because of the distance of the new location from their home (See Appendix VI for a map of where the two gardens reside in Saraso ta) but in the end it was Otilio's love of gardening that brought them to Orange Blossom CG. Many of the gardeners who started out at Rosemary CG are heartbroken that land that was once a thriving garden is no w vacant. Celia Arroyo sees Orange Blossom CG as still being "very young. It is still growing, the community is still developing." The idea of a garden in transition and the process of growing a community are continuing themes in this thesis. Rosemary CG, according to Barbara and Gail, started out in a declining neighborhood a neighborhood similar to the one Orange Blossom CG is currently in. Orange Blossom CG currently resides in a low income area of Sarasota within the boundaries of the Newtown Community Redevelopment Area. Barbara and Gail see Rosem ary CG as an example of the way that community gardens can revitalize an area. They believe that Orange Blossom will be able to similarly revitalize Newtown. In the case of Rosemary CG, this revitalization ended up being detrimental to its land security. I ronically, the rising property values that the garden had helped to create led to its demise, a narrative of gentrification that is typical within the community gardening movement. With the transportation of a gardening community to a new space, we must
! $# be g the question: who does this garden serve? This is a question that I will come back to throughout this thesis.
! &% Chapter 2 Why Look at Space? This issue is not simply about contestation inside cities but more importantly concerns contests over the construction and framing of cities especially what they are going to be in the future (Harvey 2007: 232). According to Lefebvre, the complex and contradictory nature of space is that "space is permeated with social relations; it is not only supported by social relations but it is also producing and produced by social relations" (Lefe bvre 1991: 286, as cited in Low 2005: 114). Space is both a product and a producer of social interaction. Therefore a discussion of space and the productio n of space is pivotal to the discussion of the Orange Blossom CG especially in regards to both the building of community within the garden, and the garden's relationship with the community outside of its physical boundary. In her article, "Spatializing Cu lture," Anthropologist Setha M. Low, points out the importance of distinguishing between "social production of space" and "social construction of space." According to Low "the social production of space includes all of those factors social, economic, ideo logical, and technological whose intended goal is the physical creation of a materia l setting" (2005: 112). In other words, the social production of space is connected to the creation of the physical space. On the other hand, she defines the social constru ction of space as "the actual transformation of space through people's social exchanges, memories, images, and daily use of the material setting into scenes and actions that convey symbolic meaning" (2005: 112). Thus, the social construction of space is th e symbolic experience of space which is negotiated by social processes such as exchange, conflict and control. The distinction between these two processes of spatial
! &$ formation is important because understanding these two social processes can help to uncove r the larger social issues that contribute to local conflicts over space. Clearly, an understanding of both the social production of space and the social construction of space is important to understanding the social processes at work in urban gardens. Wit hin these two processes, Low's definitions point out not only their contribution to the production of culture through space but the role that individuals play in shaping space through interpretation and assigned meaning, acknowledging individual agency wit hin the spatialization of culture. This conception of spatial development is related to social exclusion. Exclusion in the City: An Issue of Access Urbanist Ali Madanipour states that "the question of social exclusion and integration largely revolves around access. It is access to decision making, access to resources, and access to common narratives, which enable soci al integration" (Madanipour 2007 : 162). Within Madanipour's vie w, access has clear spatial manifestations. Space is often the site in which the form of access is either manifest or denied. In other words "the more restricted our social options, the more restricted will be our spatial options and the more excluded we feel or become" (2007 : 162). He outlines three barriers to spatial access. The first barrier is the physical organization of space, both in terms of the natural and constructed environment, the visible and strict barriers to our spatial access. The second barrier according to Madanipour is "a mental space," our perceptions of space. This may be regulated through codes and signs, preventing us from entering some spaces through outright warnings or more subtle deterrents. Mental space may also be controlled t hrough our fears and perceptions of activities in places (2007 :
! && 162). This is a more subtle barrier because it involves the individual's perception and interpretation of space. Madanipour gives the example of a fancy shop to illustrate this barrier, explai ning that someone may not go into this shop based on their socioeconomic status. They may not have the money to buy anything in the shop, or they may not be appropriately dressed. This barrier involves a level of self selection, but it is important because this kind of barrier is still a producer of exclusion that is experienced in very real terms. The final barrier he discusses is social control. This barrier to our social behavior takes the form of legal prohibitions. One example of this barrier would be international borders, where access to space is governed by rules and regulations. Through the realization of these three barriers, Madanipour recognizes two processes: "a land and property market which sees space as a commodity and tends to create socio spatial segregation realized through differential access to this commodity, and a town planning and design tendency to regulate and rationalize space production by the imposition of some for m of order" (2007 : 164). Through both of these processes, exclusio n emerges, a collectivization of difference which often results in protected enclaves of space for the rich and the creation of new urban ghettos for the poor. In City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles, Mike Davis provides commentary on Los Angeles California, presenting a view of the city's protected enclaves, in what he calls "fortress cities": Welcome to post liberal Los Angeles, where the defense of luxury lifestyles is translated into a proliferation of new repressions in space and move ment, undergirded by the ubiquitous armed response' This obsession with physical security systems, and, collaterally, with the architectural policing of social boundaries, has become a zeitgeist of urban restructuring, a master narrative in the emerging built environment
! &' This epochal coalescence has far reaching consequences for the social relations of the built environment. In the first place, the market provisions of security' gene rates its own paranoic demand. security' becomes a positional g ood defin ed by income access to private protective services' and membership in some hardened residential enclave or restricted suburb. As a prestige symbol and sometimes as the decisive borderline betwe en the merely well off and the truly rich' security has less to do with the degree of personal safety than with the degree of personal insulation, in residential, work, consumption, and travel environments, from 'unsavory' groups and individuals, even crowds in general (Davis 1990: 223 6). In this excerp t Davis addresses many elements of spatial manipulations on segregation and the "policing of social boundaries" (1990: 223). Davis explains a trend of repressions in space and movement that has developed as a result of a demand for "security" on the part o f the upper class. Through this demand, a coalescence of urban design, architecture and the "police apparatus" has taken place to wage war upon the poor, further limiting the spatial access of the impoverished. This view is seen clearly in Sarasota in rela tion to current decisions about the reconstruction of public space to "address homelessness." Rather than addressing structural issues that reinforce a cycle of homelessness, Sarasota residents and policy makers are considering remapping public spaces to d iscourage loitering through the construction of fences and the removal of benches and low walls that act as seating. These manipulations of public space beg the question: who is public space meant for? These constructions are obviously meant to protect the safety of upper and middle classes through the seclusion of the poor. Through the policing of these fortified enclaves, inequality and segregation become quite explicit. In summary, "one of the consequences of living in cities segregated by enclaves is th at while heterogeneous contacts diminish, social differences are more rigidly perceived, and proximity to people from different groups is considered dangerous, thus emphasizing inequality and distance" (Caldeira 2005: 103).
! &( According to Davis, the term "security" has been co opted and merged with an ideal of personal insulation, allowing people under the guise of security to literally separate themselves from the lower classes through the manipulation and construction of material space. This affects both the affluent and the impoverished. The fears of the affluent lead them to avoid regions and people that they have identified in their mental maps of the city as dangerous (Davis 1990: 102). Davis also discusses the issue of the construction of "pseudo pub lic spaces," such as malls and office complexes. According to Davis, these spaces are full of "invisible si gns warning off the underclass Other' (1990: 226). This goes back to Madanipour's idea of mental space, where spatial features and cultural percept ion cause people to avoid places where they perceive they are not welcome. People from privileged social strata are often oblivious to these social cues that lead to segregation while the "underclass" read the meaning and are painfully aware of their exclu sion. Davis has been critiqued for collapsing complex social processes and in some ways robbing the impoverished of individual agency, but he makes a persuasive argument. He acknowledges that "fortress architecture" is not inevitable and deeply shapes pub lic space and public interactions, reinforcing social inequality and segregation (2005: 101). I would not equate the microcosm of Orange Blossom CG and its surrounding area to Davis' description of "fortified Los Angeles," but it is important to acknowledg e trends that have emerged within the shaping of city space and acknowledging the role it plays in both the perception of space and access. Within the context of Orange Blossom CG, issues of access are most clearly s een with the construction of its fence.
! &) The Fence as Barrier At Orange Blossom CG, the most visible divide between the garden and the surrounding community is the fence. In any community garden there is a balancing act between the commitment of the garden to being a public resource and the nee d for the safety and security of the garden and the garden community. During the planning stages of Orange Blossom CG, the fence was a big issue. All of the community gardens under the umbrella of the Sarasota County Extension office are bordered by a fenc e, including the previously existing Rosemary CG site. This set a precedent for the construction of Orange Blossom CG. During the course of the Urban Agriculture tutorial, students suggested not constructing a fence or leaving the garden unlocked, seeing a ccessibility as an important issue in forming a positive relationship with residents around the new garden site. These ideas were quickly dismissed due to liability issues. The construction of the fence was further justified when the Orange Blossom CG site experienced instances of vandalism before the construction of the fence had been completed. The construction of a fence at Orange Blossom CG clearly defines the space as usable only by certain individuals. In this case, possession of a key to the fence's gate marks people as members of the garden community. The fence also clearly marks who is not a part of the garden community. At Orange Blossom CG, during the time of its construction, it was known that as a physical barrier a fence would 1) change the wa y that the existing community walked through the park and interacted with the park space, and 2) make the garden less open as a public resource. Prior to the construction of the fence, the area that Orange Blossom CG now occupies was open space that was us ed primarily as a pathway through the park from the
! &* Orange Avenue public housing to the neighborhood on the other side of the park. Through repeated use, people had created a "desire path" (or social trail), a term coined by Gaston Bachelard in his book Th e Poetics of Space This term refers to a path developed by erosion as a result of human footfall. These paths represent the demand people have for that route, which usually takes the shape of the shortest route between a person' s origin and destination (B achelard 1969). Before th e fence was constructed, a well worn desire path was present and was a typical throughway for people in the area. The construction of the fence has provoked the development of a new desire path that borders the western side of the fence. The creation of desire paths is a very tangible illustration of the way in which socially produced space influences people's physical interaction with space and spatial access. In this case, the construction of the fence limited public access and bl ocked a socially produced pathway, prompting the production of a new pathway through repeated use. To the gardeners, a fence seemed necessary for the safety of the garden plots. This opinion was based both on the garden's experience with vandalism prior to the construction of the f ence and based on the gardeners' perception (or social construction of space) of the area based on its reputation. Before they had fenced in the garden, someone turned on all the spigots that had been installed and left them run ning, which resulted in a huge water bill. Ensuring the security of garden resources as well as gardeners while trying to remain an open community resource is a difficult balancing act. For a discussion of the relationship between Orange Blossom CG and the community outside of its barriers, both the social production and the social construction of the garden space must be examined. The fence is an example of the social production
! &+ of space. In this next section, I will look at how "empty space" is socially c onstructed, within the context of community gardens in Sarasota. The Social Construction of Empty Space The construction of fortress architecture and privatization of public space described by Davis and Madanipour, threatens the continued construction o f open public space within the urban environment. Within the neoliberal market paradigm, the value of public space is measured in economic terms, undermining the value public space holds in terms of health and diversity. Public space is a site of contested space, acting as a canvas upon which a diverse range of visions of space and place can be projected. In his article, "The Geography of Emptiness," McDonogh discusses the concept of emptiness in terms of space. He says emptiness is constructed based upon cultural perceptions of "nonuse and potential" (McDonogh 1993: 13). McDonogh believes "emptiness as a complex social space is defined by conflict among groups with distinct visions of the city and presences in its society" (1993: 7). McDonogh argues that n o space is truly empty, perception of e mptiness is based upon a person' s values and their individual vision of urban space. For example, a vacant lot might be labeled empty because it is viewed by an individual as a place that is not used. This cultural la beling conceals existing patterns of use that deviate from the prescribed norm such as use by the homeless thereby ignoring their existence (1993: 7). The term "empty" is applied to a space depending on the presence of correct or incorrect contents, which are defined through "territorial struggles between groups or users or from the imposition of cultural values upon a space" (1993: 9). Within public space, control and resistance is played out
! &" between the dominating and the dominated, based on competing app ropriations of physical space. This is a result of the fact that the public is not a single unified entity. The public, as Madanipour says, is "composed of different social strata, each with a different set of characteristics, interests and powers. Further more, within those strata there are a large number of individual differences. There are strong centrifugal and fragmentary forces that create and separate social strata, which will then be reflected in the constitution of the public" (2010: 9). As a produc t of society, public space is shaped by diversity of the public, but also the power structures that value the interests of some at the expense of others. Orange Blossom CG, as a reincarnation of Rosemary CG, is an interesting example of the idea of empty space because it has been on both the winning and losing side. As urban gardens, Orange Blossom CG and Rosemary CG filled' empty space. Rosemary filled a vacant lot and "cleaned it up"; emptying the space of what William Whyte calls "undesirables" (Whyte in McDonogh 1993: 10). In a space that the dominant narrative defined as empty, Rosemary CG constructed place. Later, when the City of Sarasota wanted to build affordable housing, Rosemary CG became redefined as empty space in the eyes of city authorities who measured its value in economic terms. Orange Blossom CG also embodies a conflict between perceptions of space as empty or full. Orange Blossom CG occupies land that was originally open park space. By placing Orang e Blossom CG there and filling' the space, the City of Sarasota defined the previous park space as empty. This labeling ignores the previous uses of the space as a
! natural thruway and generally open park space upon which utilizers of the park assigned their own meaning. The park space was re appropriated. Community gardens bo th play into this dichotomy of empty' and full' and subvert it by creating new definitions of what makes space valuable. Community gardens "illustrate how groups, marginalized from the formal political process, can bot h produce and contest space through the assertion of their social identity. In gardens, cultural diversity becomes connected to biodiversity, demonstrating how urban green space is infused with the cultural and political" (Baker 2004: 323). Community garde ns can give voice to the oppressed and undervalued, while in some cases also acting as a means for the displacement of some oppressed groups, such as the homeless. So far, I have examined the distinction between the social construction of space and the so cial production of space, explaining the ways in which Orange Blossom CG and Rosemary CG have participated in the social processes within the positions of both the dominators (in terms of their re appropriation of park space) and the dominated (in terms of the re appropriation of Rosemary CG's land by the City of Sarasota). In this next section I will look at the importance of public space and why it should be protected. I survey the definitions of public space, contesting the ways in which Orange Blossom C G does or does not fit into the conception of public space. Public Space: What Makes Space Public? The p hysical landscape has repeatedly been connected to human health and well being in scholarly research. Throughout human history, outdoor settings have been used for the benefit of both physical and psychological health (Thwaites et al. 2005: 526). As mentioned earlier, this has been a main argument for the support of community gardens
! '% throughout history, and during my field research this view was widely referenced among the gardeners at Orange Blossom CG. This undeniable connection between open space and physical and mental well being justifies the construction of public space in urban settings, and community gardens in particular. But public urban space is currently under threat. The discussion of the social production of space, the social construction of space, and spatial access previously discussed is essential to understanding public space and recent trends of the privatization of space scholars have seen. Along with creating a general emphasis on private space, the neoliberal market paradigm has also taken hold of public space. As the state has reduced in size and scope, public urban development has been transferred more and more to the private secto r. The problem with putting urban planning in the hands of private companies, however, is that private companies are only interested in features of urban development that will be sure to return on their investment (Madanipour 2010: 3). Public space for the most part is not seen as a valuable commodity to private investors, because it is viewed as a liability and cannot be sold for a profit. Private companies are accountable only to their shareholders and as such are not responsible for ensuring the betterme nt of the urban community as a whole. According to Madanipour: By encouraging private investors, either through partnerships or through reducing regulatory pressures on them, the urban development process has been bent towards their expectations The prevalence of economic justification of public spaces, therefore, becomes the norm rather than the exception. It becomes an integral part of the logic of place making; anybody who questions this logic may be accused of naivety or lack of economic awarenes s. As the aim of the urban development process is often economic regeneration, place finds an instrumental value, as a tool through which economic vibrancy can be delivered (Madanipour 2010: 240).
! '$ In this way, the interests of the public as a whole are ignored, further strengthening systems of inequality in regards to urban planning as public space is de emphasized. Alternately, local governments play into this economic measurement of urban space. L ocal authorities also see public space as a liability, and view the maintenance of public space as a drain on their already small budgets. Public spaces, such as community gardens, are not easily measured in economic terms and as such are not valuable with in the neoliberal market paradigm (Smith and Kurtz 2003: 201). On the other hand, some developers have seen public space as a useful way to enrich their pri vate developments, using public space to draw people to commercial facilities and private services ( Loukaitou Sideris 1993: 141). As a result of this market driven paradigm, a trend has taken hold in which privatized public spaces are constructed. Spaces that are marketed as public space are not necessarily public. Anastasia Loukaitou Sideris identifie s five characteristics of privatization that are commonly found in today's public spaces: "introversion, fragmentation, escapism, orderliness and design rigidity," which work in conjunction with "objectives of control, protection, social filtering, image g eneration, and manipulation of user behaviour" (Loukaitou Sideris 1993: 153). Introversion refers to the inward orientation of public space, through the construction of walls and a de emphasis of street level access. This in turn creates a fragmentation of space in which public space is disconnected from the surrounding urban environment. This is seen at Orange Blossom CG in the form of a locked fence. The urban spaces Loukaitou Sideris describes also take on a feeling of escapism in which public spaces are portrayed as a space of relief from the urban environment, seen as "little oases" (1993: 153). A vi ew that fits into the gardeners'
! '& conception of Orange Blossom CG. Finally, these spaces take on an orderly form, providing no space for spontaneity and free dom of movement and interaction with the space. For example, rather than providing large grassy spaces where people can gather and make use of the space in a variety of ways (playing frisbee, eating a picnic, etc.), these plazas she describes provide space s in which the users are passive, and each architectural feature has a specific use. Loukaitou Sideris also points out that these public spaces are strictly policed to eliminate undesirable behavior or people (1993: 154). This fits into the overall idea o f the marketability of public space in relation to private enterprise. Again, I will point to the example of Five Points Park, to illustrate the role that the private sector plays in the shaping of public space. Recent meeting s concerning the revitalizatio n of the park have been attended by both Sarasota' s residents and business owners. One of the main concerns brought up at the meeting focused on the role the presence of the homeless plays in deterring local resid ents' use of the park and the impact this h as on local businesses. Various measures were suggested to address this issue, including stricter regulation of the park by the Sarasota police department, along with architectural changes of the park that would deter homeless individuals from using the pa rk space. These kinds of measures contribute to the homogeneity of park space in terms of their social contexts, creating increasingly segregated public settings. The impetus for the change being the perceived rights of businesses to shape space. If publi c space can be "privatized," what is it that makes space public? To determine whether a space is public or private, "Benn and Gaus (1983) suggested three criteria as dimensions of social organization: access, interest and agency, with access
! '' divided furthe r into access to spaces, activities, information and resources" (Madanipour 2010: 9). According to Mad anipour, based on Benn and Gaus' criteria, a place is public "if it is controlled by public authorities, concerns people as a whole, is open or available to them, and is used or shared by all the members of society" (2010: 9). Therefore, according to these criteria a space is truly public only if it is accessible to everyone, regardless of their ethnicity, gender, age, physical ability, and socioeconomic st atus (2010: 242). According to this definition, Orange Blossom CG should be understood as semi private space. Orange Blossom CG is housed on public land, and therefore considered public space, but the garden is arguably not purely public. The spatial feat ure of the locked fence surrounding the garden acts as an excluding force. This can be understood as part of a larger trend towards the privatization of public space and limiting accessibility, a problematic characterization in contrast to an idea of commu nity gardens as democratic space. In my opinion, this element of accessibility within the garden should not be looked at in entirely negative terms because the gardeners, as members of the public, experience clear benefits from the garden (further explored in chapter three). Community gardens provide an opportunity for people to directly construct and manage city designated public space. Space v. Place In Who's Public Space Madanipour makes a distinction between space' and place.' Space takes on the character of being "abstract and impersonal", while place is interpreted as having "meaning and value" (2010: 6). According to Madanipour, a main criticism of the development process for modern cities is that there has been a shift from
! '( place to space. This idea goes hand in hand with the idea that cities have continued to become more impersonal and that people have become less connected to their physical environments. The construction of gated housing developments is a good example of t his trend. Many housing developments create a space in which houses are identical and interchangeable, lining streets that have names devoid of compelling meaning. These spaces are impersonal, discouraging the formation of personal connection, and empty of a true sense of meaningful place. This is a central concept to the discussion of community gardens because they are seen as a means of creating place out of a space. Through the process of creating a garden preparing the soil, building rows or boxes, sow ing seeds, and harvesting crops the gardener becomes connected to that space, imbuing it with meaning and value. Through studying how Latino community gardens in New York play into community development, Laura Saldivar Tanaka and Marianne E. Krasny have lo oked at the ways in which community gardens are different from typical public space. They found that the average public space does "not encourage people to organize or provide opportunities for poor residents to gain experience designing and managing open space" (Saldivar Tanaka and Krasny 2004: 410). This process of designing and managing space is very powerful to the creation of place rather than simple space. At Orange Blossom CG, gardeners have a hand in the social production of space rather than just t he social construction of space. A main component of developing the master plan for Orange Blossom CG was gathering gardener input. Gardeners were asked what they would like to see in the new community garden, and those visions were captured in Orange Blos som CG's construction.
! ') New York City's attempt to start community gardens without community input is a prime example of the importance of community involvement in the production of place. In 1976, New York's city government spent 3.6 million dollars to bu ild gardens on vacant land, expecting residents to maintain them (Sokolovsky 2010: 247; Sc h melzkopf 1995: 375). Having had no hand in the planning process and no resources for the gardens, the garden spaces were quickly abandoned by the residents and vanda lized. This example is a testament to the importance of involving community members in the social production of public space. The problem with creating place out of space, however, is that it often comes at the cost of accessibility. In many cases, the mo re accessible a space is, the more impersonal it becomes. In other words, "if a place is reserved for a known group of individuals or a class of society on the basis of their economic or political resources, accessibility decreases and familiarity increase s" (Madanipour 2010: 10). At Orange Blossom CG, participation in the garden isn't necessarily based upon economic or political resources, but true public accessibility is in many ways compromised. It is the production of place, through the construction of community that makes community gardens so powerful. But, the issue of accessibility associated with the creation of place is problematic when thinking about the role that a garden like Orange Blossom CG can play in its direct neighborhood and the city of S arasota as a whole. This concept of creating place out of space is a pivotal part of why Orange Blossom CG can be considered semiprivate space. The individual plot structure used within the garden is a perfect example of the interplay between the individua l and the collective in terms of cultivating a community feel within community gardens.
! '* The Individual Plot Structure Orange Blossom CG uses an individual plot structure, demarcating the borders of communal space and individual space within the garden ( See Appendix V II for a current map of the garden space). According to a University of Florida IFAS Extension document, entitled Starting a Community Garden, there are two management approach categories for community gardens: 1) individual plots, and 2) c ommon greenspace. Within the individual plot system, the garden is "subdivid ed for personal use, as in the allotment' system common in the United Kingdom. Individual plots can be chosen, randomly selected, or assigned. Individual plot management often is used for vegetable gardening" (Worden et al. 2002: 2). Within the "common greenspace" approach, the garden space is one strictly communal garden, where all gardeners are both responsible for tending the space, but also reap the benefits as a collective. Or ange Blossom CG uses a combination of these two approaches. Orange Blossom CG has designated individual plots, but also has communal gardening areas, for which all of the gardeners are ideally responsible. The individual plot structure is well known withi n the world of community gardening and is a very typical design. All of the gardeners who I talked to said that they liked the individual plot structure. Gardeners expressed to me that the structure allows them to feel a real sense of ownership over their space. Having individual plots gives the gardeners true decision making power within their gardening space. Gardeners have almost complete control over how they arrange their plots, what they grow, and the methods they use to cultivate their gardens.
! '+ The individual plot structure supports the development of systems of exchange between the gardeners. It encourages gardeners to interact with one another through sharing their harvests with each other. As each gardener grows a different variety of plants, it i s in their mutual interest to share their crops, increasing the diversity of their vegetables derived from the garden. As Scott Sanders writes, "A healthy community is dynamic, kept in motion by the constant bartering of gifts" (Sanders 1996: 46). "B artering of gifts," and more generally, systems of exchange, are foundational to the social dynamics in the gardens and the "sense of community" felt by the gardeners. Here it is clear that individual gardening practices and the formation of community are not mutually exclusive. Barbara and Gail work as volunteers, and there is no paid staff person to oversee Orange Blossom CG. Therefore in practical terms, the individual plot structure is a good structure for the garden. It ensures that people feel a connection to their gardening space and through that feeling of ownership take care of the garden space. There is communal gardening at a small scale in the form of outreach projects, and also in individual plots where family members and neighbors garden together. A strictly communal gardening structure would require much more organization on the part of the coordinators, examples of this can be seen through the projects existing on Orange Blossom CG's communal space already. Within this structure, community gardens can be understood as semi private space. Orange Blossom CG is technically public, but through the locking of the fence, the general public does not always have access. Because the majority of Orange Blossom CG's land is controlled by individuals, there is much less institut ional control over what
! '" the garden looks like, as compared to other public parks in Sarasota. This fact is beneficial to both the gardeners and the City. It gives gardeners the chance to have a hand in the shaping of their public space. As a result, the ga rden requires minimal resources, and virtually no maintenance from the City, beyond the periodic emptying of the portable toilet. Through the social production of public space, it is the gardeners themselves who ultimately control how the garden space is u sed and who must negotiate the competing visions (or social constructions of space) that exist within the garden.
! '# Chapter 3 Creating Place: The Community Gardening Experience Barbara: Otilio and Celia would be so cute, they would walk past the fence, out on their little stroll, and we would be out there, he would just stand there on the fence, like looking at the gardening saying "I miss my garden" Gail: I went up to hi m one night and he was outside looking in, and he didn't quite understand what a community garden was, and I said "this is a garden" and I says "have you ever gardened?" and he said "awww, I used to have a really nice yard in New Jersey" and all that Barb ara: "a big vegetable garden in my backyard!" Gail: and I said "why don't you get a garden in here, and he looked at me and said "oh no, I sold all my tools, and I don't have anything, you know, I can't" and I said, "well we got tools, you don't need to ha ve any tools" and I'm showing him the sheds and he's like "for everybody to use?" and I'm like "yeah!" and it's been no looking back ever since. Barbara : I mean he's here everyday Gail: They had discovered this Eden, that was just steps [away from th eir condo] In this chapter I look at the ways in which gardeners experience the cultivation of place and community. I describe the process of getting a plot at Orange Blossom CG, explaining the role that Barbara Powell Harris and Gail Harvey play in plo t allocation Orange Blossom CG. Photo by author.
! (% and rule regulation as Orange Blossom CG's coordinators. I explore the social construction of the garden through the gardeners' definitions of community and their experience of community. I look at why gardeners come to Orange Blossom CG and t he values associated with community gardening in practice. Additionally, I look at the ways in which the individual gardener's social construction of the garden space is reflected within their individual plot space. I end this chapter with a short discussi on of communal space and communal resources. Master Gardeners and Obtaining a Plot at Orange Blossom Community Garden Master Gardeners are volunteers trained by the University of Florida Extension Service to provide research based information to Floridia ns about gardening, environmental horticulture and pest management. The Sarasota County Extension website outlines the intention of the Master Gardener position: They provide information about planning and maintaining urban, suburban and rural landscapes w ith an emphasis on environmental stewardship. In addition, these volunteers assist homeowners with their landscape and garden concerns, staff information booths at special events, give presentations to garden clubs, work with youth groups (4 H, Scouts, pub lic and private school students, etc.), assist with community gardens, and help train and facilitate horticultural activities for the developmentally and physically challenged as well as senior populations (Sarasota County Extension 2007 ). During the time I studied the garden, there were a number of Master Gardeners actively involved at the Orange Blossom CG, the most notable being Barbara Powell Harris, Gail Harvey, Storm and Pauline Everett. Out of the four, Barbara and Gail act as the sit e coordinators for the garden, while Pauline and Storm are active volunteers. During the course of my fieldwork, I did not come into contact with Storm, but he shares a plot with Barbara, Gail and MaQuan. Barbara often talked about him helping out with
! ($ bot h their shared plot and communal garden space in various ways. I often saw Pauline and chatted with her frequently during the time I spent at Orange Blossom CG, and I was able to interview her. As a Master Gardener and active volunteer, Pauline helps maint ain common plots, such as the children's garden, and assists in a myriad of other activities both within the garden and in her involvement with Florida House (a demonstration house that models environmentally friendly practices). Despite the institutional ization of leadership codified by the Master Gardener certification through the Sarasota County Extension Office (the overarching governing body for the county's community gardens), administrative duties are not automatically allocated to Master Gardeners. Master Gardener training gives gardeners a level of knowledge about gardening and requires a certain number of volunteer hours per year. This encourages Master Gardeners to take on leadership roles, but is not necessarily the rule. In Sarasota County, thr ee out of the four of the existing community gardens are administered by Master Gardeners. The process of leadership development is relative to each community garden's history; in other words, Master Gardeners must achieve their status as garden site coord inators. Barbara and Gail became the administrators of Orange Blossom CG likely because of their heavy involvement in petitioning the city for a new community garden after Rosemary CG was closed and their involvement with the garden's planning process. Bar bara and Gail repeatedly told me that they had become the leaders of the garden very informally and sometimes wished that other people would step forward to take some of the responsibility. From what I gathered during my time in the field, Barbara and Gai l's activities include controlling access to the garden, educating community gardeners about
! (& horticulture, enforcing the community garden's rules, fostering a sense of community, securing garden funding, negotiating the use of city utilities and services, and serving as representatives of the Orange Blossom CG community. Barbara and Gail's many responsibilities necessarily made them central to social relations within the garden and to relations with external institutions. As administrators, Barbara and Gail controlled access to the garden by allocating vacant plots to gardeners. At the time of my research, there were two standard plot sizes within the garden: 14 x 24 ft plots for gardeners whose plot size was grandfathered in when they moved from Rosemary to Orange Blossom CG, and 10 x 20 ft plots for newer community gardeners. Barbara and Gail decided to reduce plot size at Orange Blossom CG to maximize the overall number of plots. As explained earlier, being granted a plot plays a big role in the access people have to the garden and the garden's resources. Having a plot at Orange Blossom CG grants community gardeners a key to both the garden's gate and the tool sheds, giving the gardener unlimited access to the garden. As a ll the gardeners have keys, there is no need to have daily open hours; gardeners are able to come at their ease based on their own schedule. Keys are also available to people who are active volunteers, widening the scope of accessibility. This is how I fir st got a key to the garden. At the time of this study the only regular time that the garden was formally open to the general public was during the monthly First Saturday class, which Barbara and Gail are responsible for organizing. These classes provide a monthly open house where anyone can come and see the garden and learn about a topic related to gardening. In Barbara and Gail's view, ideally the garden would be open to the public whenever a
! (' gardener is present at Orange Blossom CG. They envision all the gardeners acting as ambassadors to the garden, leaving the fence open to the public and talking to people passing by about the garden. Barbara and Gail currently live out this vision, but with the other gardeners there was some ambiguity concerning this i ssue. Some gardeners said that it is part of the garden's rules that the gate should be locked even when people are in the garden. Other gardeners said locking or leaving the gate open was simply a personal choice (I will talk more about why the gardeners chose to lock the gate or leave it open later in chapter four). The gardeners who I talked to at Orange Blossom CG found out about the garden and obtained their plots in many different ways. Some gardeners f ound out about the garden through a newspaper article in the Sarasota Herald Tribune. Gardeners like Olympia Baylou learned about the garden through a TV program highlighting the garden. Other gardeners learned about the garden through the Sarasota County Extension office, the First Saturday gardening classes, or through talking to a friend. Still others learned about the garden through passing by Orange Blossom CG or other Sarasota county community gardens and calling the phone number. On the gated fence s urrounding the area there are two signs, one on the north side, another on the south. Along with a phone number to call, the signs read: "Interested in a Garden Plot in YOUR Community Garden?" The your' had been added to the sign in all capital letters. S ome gardeners merely moved with Barbara Sign by the northern gate. Photo by author.
! (( and Gail from Rosemary CG, or learned about the garden through other gardeners. There was no one way that prospective community gardeners find out about the opportunity to hold a plot at Orange Blossom CG, though int erestingly most of the newer community gardeners learned about the garden through the newspaper. No matter which way a gardener found out about the garden, the next step toward getting a plot at Orange Blossom CG is to contact Barbara or Gail. After contac ting either Gail or Barbara, a prospective community gardener meets with one of them at Orange Blossom CG to see which plots were available and learn about the rules and expected upkeep of plots. Next, prospective community gardeners are asked to fill out a registration form, sign an injury liability waiver, and pay a yearly fee of $20.00, and a one time deposit of $30.00. I was told that the fee was used to pay for tools, inputs and garden utilities, while the deposit was used as collateral in case gardene rs abandoned their plot. These fees alone do not cover the expenses of the garden, but they do provide some funds that Barbara and Gail use along with grant money and donations for communal projects. The water bill is paid for by the City of Sarasota. When all of the plots have been allocated, individuals are put on a waiting list kept by Barbara and Gail. When I first began my research at Orange Blossom CG, I was told that residents of Sarasota who do not live in the area year round are necessarily exclude d from being allocated a plot in the garden because of the year round maintenance and activity a garden in Florida requires. Towards the end of my study, however, Barbara and Gail were in the process of finding a way to allow snowbirds to participate in th e garden through a plot sharing system, in which seasonal gardeners share a plot with a year round
! () resident. This is an example of the means Barbara and Gail take to keep the garden open and accessible. At Orange Blossom CG, the process for obtaining a plo t I outlined above is in practice not as formal as it might seem. At Orange Blossom CG there are both formal and informal means of getting a plot. Both of these means are informed by Barbara and Gail's goals of having a vital and diverse community and the necessity of plot maintenance. Barbara and Gail told me that they have a ranking system based upon locality. First preference goes to residents of the neighborhood area, then to residents of Sarasota, and finally to residents of the county. Additionally, community garden applicants with prior relations to the Master Gardeners or prior relations with already established community gardeners are more likely to be given a plot than individuals who may have been on the waiting list. I benefited from this syste m myself; through my active involvement in Orange Blossom CG's projects, Barbara and Gail granted me a shared plot without making me go through the waiting list process. For a variety of reasons, previously allocated plots were at times abandoned and left with nobody to tend them. This provided an opportunity for volunteers and the family members of other community gardeners to gain ownership over abandoned plots. Using their social capital built through voluntary involvement, kinship ties, or friendship w ith the garden coordinators, individuals are able to gain plots without going through the waiting list system. Coupled with the gifting of access to a plot was the understanding that access was given because the new holder would maintain the plot better th an the old holder and better than a completely new and unknown holder. Familiarity or involvement
! (* with the master gardeners or the community was thus an important way of gaining access to a plot, especially when most of the plots had already been allocated Some gardeners have used these informal membership strategies to increase their original plot sizes. The most common scenario involves community gardeners registering their spouses or other family members for a second plot that they subsequently incorpo rate into their own original plot. For example, during my fieldwork, two highly active community gardeners incorporated the plots next to their original plots by signing their wives up for gardens. One of the gardeners' wives had never set foot in the gard en, while the other gardener's wife came on occasion. These gardeners used their social capital (garnered through active involvement in the garden and contribution to the upkeep of communal space) to obtain more land for personal cultivation. Strategies li ke these, which increased the holdings and privileges of individual community gardeners, are part of a system of reciprocity practiced through service to an abstract notion of community. This means of plot expansion is not deemed acceptable by all gardener s. There is some resentment on the part of other gardeners who see this as a manipulation of garden rules. Another strategy gardeners used to increase their plot size and overall yield was by gardening in friend or extended family groups. Gardeners like Na ncy Booker and M.L. Baldwin chose to garden together, combining their two plots for maximum yields and cooperative management. Here it is clear that the process for obtaining a plot at Orange Blossom CG is not a strictly democratic process, but rather it is based upon a system of social capital. This is not necessarily a bad system. Barbara and Gail keep the overall functioning of the garden at heart when determining plot allocation. By giving active volunteers preference for
! (+ individual plots, they ensure the continued support of those volunteers in communal projects. Also, by giving priority to residents of the area Barbara and Gail act to further strengthen Orange Blossom CG's ties to the Newtown community. They don't ignore the waiting list system, they simply subvert it when they think it will benefit the overall health of the gardening community. Barbara and Gail work to create a cohesive community, and they use their position as the garden's coordinators to achieve that goal. As community gardener John Grimes says: I think Gail does most of the screening, and she is very careful about who she lets in here, in that she wants community minded people, I think. Because in this group they're all pretty good people, the whole group, none of them are grumpy o r anything, and you can get that when you gather people together. So, she is doing a great job as far as I'm concerned. It's a fun spot. Barbara and Gail are ultimately responsible for allocating plots and as such they largely control access to the commu nity garden through both formal and informal means of plot allocation. Barbara and Gail are also responsible for open house events like the First Saturday c lass, in which the general public has access to the garden, and gardening projects that involve peop le from the general community that do not have their own individual plot. In these ways, Barbara and Gail act as ambassadors for the garden, fostering community involvement. Next, I will look at how Barbara and Gail deal with the issue of rules and regulat ion within the garden. Rules and Regulations At the time of my study, Gail and Barbara were responsible for enforcing the rules and r egulations to ensure the garden' s overall maintenance. From my observations, the enforcement of rules was mostly non confrontational and informal for a number of
! (" reasons. On a basic level, having full time jobs means Barbara and Gail are simply unable to enforce all of the rules of the garden, an issue that has led to discussions of creating a steering committee for Orange Blossom CG. I was told by Barbara and Gail that aside from people abandoning their plots, no one has ever been asked to leave for not following guidelines. By the compost and mulch piles there was a sign from the Rosemary CG site with a list of gard en rules, but it had not yet been put in a visible location. When I asked what the rules of the garden were, most of the gardeners gave a wide variety of answers, and were usually unsure of themselves. Gardeners referenced an overall expectation of plot ma intenance, a restriction of alcohol consumption, using only organic growing methods, and not interfering with other people's plots without the plot occupant's permission. For Barbara and Gail, the maintenance of a cohesive community seems to be more impor tant than strictly following set rules, and as such the atmosphere in the garden is very relaxed. During the time I spent there, no one ever expressed anxieties about breaking the rules and regulations. Even the requirement of maintaining one's plot was re laxed to a certain degree. Often as the main Master Gardeners, Barbara and Gail knew the extenuating circumstances that caused some gardeners to neglect their plots, and allowed them leeway in maintenance. Barbara jokingly described to me a warning system she used, in which if grass and weeds grew up to her ankles she would give a verbal warning, if it grew up to her knees the gardener would get a letter, and if it grew up to her rear end they would be kicked out. One of the widely acknowledged rules of the community garden is the expectation that produce is grown organically. According to gardeners, organic means using no
! (# chemical pesticides. To some gardeners, the meaning of organic extends to not using chemical fertilizers either. When I asked Barbara and Gail about this they mentioned that while the use of chemical fertilizers was not technically against the rules, they try to encourage people not to use them. Barbara mentioned that eventually she wants to make this a strict rule. Interestingly enough, th ere are gardeners who regularly use nitrogen fertilizers for their gardens, which led to rather conspicuous yields. When I asked John Grimes what the rules of the garden were he said: Organic only is one of the rules, but for the most part I mean obvious t hings like don't leave the water running for three days. That's happened before and it cost a bundle of money. But the rules are pretty simple, stay organic, and I think the other rule is to do a little bit around. I do a little bit mechanically, and Doree n maybe will haul dirt for someone, or you know try to just help somebody out. That's kind of an unwritten rule, but it's the community part of the community garden. John's quote sums up Barbara and Gail's approach to the garden. They see the importance of rules to the overall running of the garden, but like to take a relaxed approach to regulation to foster a feeling of community within the garden. Barbara and Gail see flexibility as an important part of community building. In addition to relaxing regulations, Barbara and Gail foster community through both generalized and balanced forms of reciprocity, with both individual gardeners as well as the entire garden community. When they know th at someone in the garden has circumstances that prevent them from maintaining their plot, Barbara and Gail will usually help them by weeding. They also occasionally provide gardeners with free seeds and organic inputs (such as worm castings, which Barbara sifts from her personal worm Barbara Powell Harris' worm composting system. Photo by author.
! )% composting system) to help people get started. Although I didn't witness one during my fieldwork period, Gail and Barbara had in the past organized garden potlucks, with much of the food being provided by the demonstration gard ens and common plots that they maintain. These forms of reciprocity help to encourage new gardeners to continue gardening and helps to build solidarity between community garden members. From my observation, I think that Barbara and Gail's casual approach t o regulation is based upon the idea that to a certain extent the gardeners will self regulate. It is evident that within the garden Barbara and Gail's relaxed approach to reinforcing rules and regulations has both positive and negative effects. There are d efinitely conflicts within the garden. One gardener relayed to me that in the past she had been having a border dispute with another gardener. The problem lay in the fact that the plots had not been measured properly, and was easily fixed but still left th e gardener feeling upset. Some gardeners think that a steering committee should be formed to take some of the weight of responsibility off of Barbara and Gail, in addition to formalizing regulation. Barbara and Gail are receptive to this idea, but during a meeting concerning the subject they expressed that there should be a balance between informal modes of decision making and bureaucratic structures. Barbara and Gail stressed the importance of keeping the community feel and the vision of community gardenin g alive. They want to make sure that the regulating body does not compromise the community aspect of Orange Blossom CG. The idea of community is central to Barbara and Gail's daily regulation of the garden. Th ey work hard to ensure that the garden remains a working community without becoming too entrenched in bureaucracy, thus ensuring the appreciation of an individual's
! )$ contribution to the group. I have explained that as the coordinators of the garden Barbara and Gail work to capture the vision of communi ty gardening and cultivate community, but what exactly is the vision of Orange Blossom CG? What is community gardening? How do the gardeners define community? In these next sections I will address these questions. Community and Community Gardening Ther e are many different definitions of community gardening. The American Community Gardening Association has a broad definition of what a community garden entails, "it can be urban, suburban, or rural. It can grow flowers, vegetables or community. It can be o ne community plot, or can be many individual plots. It can be at a school, hospital, or in a neighborhood. It can also be a series of plots dedicated to urban agr iculture' where th e produce is grown for a market" (American Community Gardening Association 2009 ). Most definitions I have found on the internet and in books follow this form, briefly mentioning the idea of community and then discussing the many different structural forms community gardening can take. To understand Orange Blossom CG as a community, it is ess ential to examine the gardeners' definit ions of community. When I asked gardeners at Orange Blossom CG how they would define community gardening, their answers took on a different form. The gardeners described what made a garden a community garden, rather than just a garden. Steve Haber said: my definition [of community gardening] would be that the people in the local community would be down here gardening, for one, to grow their own vegetables which will save them money, but two, to gather together as a community and learn who your
! )& neighbors a re." This response was typical in that gardeners focused on people and community rather than structure and form. One of the main themes that I noticed in the definitions various gardeners gave for community gardening was the idea of finding common ground w ith people. Celia said a garden is about creating a community where everybody loves each other and cares for e ach other and helps each other." When I asked John Matthews how he would define community gardening he said: [Community gardening] is our communi ty, I mean, it's kind of like different parts. In any gathering like this of people there is a common goal, something that is moved up the priority list a gathering plac e, of different cultures and it' s good for a community to have things like this I learned this a long time ago, the more people get to know each other the less arguing they do, and so you accept diff erent ideas, and you may think oh that's crazy' but at the same time, you don' t kind of lose sight of enjoying your life I think its another one of those place s The people here, I don' t know them as well, but I know we have something in common. You know I' m getting ready to do some planting over here and get these thing s in here real quick and then I' ll turn my wa ter on, and then I will walk aro und the garden and go oh! They' re doing good! Oh look! Maybe I can swap something, I want some of those!' These definitions of community gardening are getting at the meaning behind community gardening, the nourishment pe ople get from being a part of a community in addition to the nourishment they receive from their harvests. This is a part of the social construction of the community garden space, the gardeners interpret the space based on the meaning it holds for them. An other element of community gardening that was more indirectly communicated by many of the gardeners was the importance of the physical space community gardens provide for the cultivation of community an idea that community is connected to space and place. Pauline expressed the idea that place is extremely important to the idea of community because it gives a person a reference point by which they know other people.
! )' The physical proximity of garden plots bring people together even though they may have nothin g in common other than being gardeners. Many of the gardeners re ferred to community gardens as gathering places ," in which community can form. When I asked Steve Haber how he would define community, he answered that community would "probably [be] where I lived and how I grew up 45 years ago, 50 years ago, where everybody knew the neighbor, you didn't worry about everybody watched over everybody, everybody knew everybody in the community, in that small community of the neighborhood." Steve continued, saying that he didn't think that individuals of his son's generation really had a conception of what community is. He said this lack of a feeling of community is a result of people being too busy and worrying too much about their children's safety to allow them to socialize. John Grimes also saw a distinction between the community within the garden and the community that forms within neighborhoods today. He told me that Orange Blossom CG: Does create a real community, a sense of community that's different from condo living for instance, which is a sense of community too. You know we're all packed in like sardines over there, and you know everybody, and you meet them in the hallway. But its a different group and a different sense of community than you find in a lot of other settings I think the group here has a really different sense of community, in that they are interested in what's going on around them, whereas in the condo co mmunity, a lot of it you just see as you are walking by and you say hello. There's people I don't know [in the condo community] for instance, it's 120 units, and I know 40 people. [In the garden] we know pretty much everybody here that we see, its much more friendly for lack of a better word. This viewpoint that community is found less and less within cities was shared by other gardeners, and it is a reason why they see community gardens as being extremely important. There is a sense within the gardening community that projects can fill the void left behind as neighborhood foster a sense of community to a lesser degree.
! )( In the words of Philip Selznick, "community is not a unidimensional idea" (Selznick 1996: 197). Each gardener captures a dimens ion of what community is according to their own values and based on their own experience. These differences capture both an individual and a collective social construction of the garden space. Though there were slight differences in definition, an overall appreciation of community, and experience with a feeling of community within the garden, was shared by the gardeners. To understand community, a variety of sources of community and the multiple values within those communities must be examined (1996: 197). Values of Community Gardening The idea that community development is central to community gardening is an idea that has been around since the beginnings of community gardening initiatives. This concept is very closely connected to the three values I pre sented in chapter one: 1) the idea of nature in the city; 2) education; and 3) garden space as democratic space. Throughout the evolution of the urban gardening movement, urban gardens have been connected to an idea of bringing nature and the "natural" in to cities. In many ways the value of community gardens are connected to the idea of an urban/rural dichotomy. Many people have a nostalgic view of rural life as being more connected to nature and the natural order of things. This view definitely existed w ithin Orange Blossom CG. When talking about the importance of gardening, Sybil Christensen quoted a saying her mother liked, that "the closer you are to the earth, the closer you are to God." Celia Arroyo also echoed this sentiment of being connected mor e completely to the earth through gardening. In an interview, she said, "once you work with the soil, the soi l is so nurturing really, there' s a relationship between man and the soil that is there, and it's so
! )) obvious, and it's so healthy." Many gardener s shared the viewpoint that in concrete filled cities people are denied this natural connection to the earth. In addition, cities have often been associated with a more individual society, while rural settings are connected with a more collective and comm unal way of life. Many of the gardeners expressed that there is a need for more green space within cities where there is less access to green space. Steve Haber expressed this well: "I think you have a lot of people that walk here that live in the neighb orhood, and I think that is really where the community gardens are really important, more in [the city] than the suburbs." Though this urban/rural dichotomy is problematic, it still resonates with a large group of people and was particularly evident among the gardeners. The concept of using gardens as a site for education has also been a part of community gardening since its beginnings. Community gardens are seen as places where both the young and the old come to learn. In the garden, learning takes many forms. There is the hands on learning gardeners get through learning practical skills in a very visible way. Gardens are often sites of more formal gardening classes, such as the First Saturday gardening class at Orange Blossom CG. Children's learning is a special focus in many gardens. Gardening is seen as an opportunity for teaching civic mindedness and cooperation to children. Children's gardening programs also espouse their contribution to teaching kids a work ethic and tools they can use in later life. Children's gardening also has a component of intergenerational community building. In community gardens children can learn from their community elders, forging bonds that might not otherwise have been nurtured. Orange Blossom CG has partnered with the Boys and Girls Club in creating a gardening program. Barbara and Gail are also in the process of preparing the
! )* earth for more children's gardening space. Education at Orange Blossom CG takes on many forms (I will go into more detail later). Within the community gardening movement, gardens are viewed as democratic space, and within that "gardening [is seen] as an activity that brings diverse groups together in mutual self interest" (Lawson 2005: 8). Though plot allocation is not necessarily strictly dem ocratic, there is a democratic element to the garden as a whole. In an interview, gardener John Matthews stressed the important role the garden plays in creating a form of equal space in terms of economics. He said, "you can't look at income here, because when you're in here you're a gardener, you're not someone who has millions of dollars or you're poor. That's one of the things I love about it, that fence blocks that off, and that's cool." Orange Blossom CG provides everyone with the tools to create and harvest a successful garden. People may augment their gardens with fancy equipment if they have the capital, but there is simplicity to gardening that does not require it. Expensive equipment does not ensure bountiful yields. For many gardeners, an ide a of the garden as democratic space encompassed a view of gardening as a means of self help. In the garden, self help is realized in many different forms, through reducing your economic need, acquiring practical skills, and most basic of all, providing yo urself with food. This idea of self help is evident in the fact that Orange Blossom CG exists, as Celia Arroyo says, "We had to fight for this place. We had to go to the council to present the case, to tell them this was very important from every level." The gardeners at Rosemary CG helped themselves by launching their campaign and getting the land for Orange Blossom CG.
! )+ This democratic element leads to a diverse atmosphere in which gardeners come into contact with people they might not see in the normal routine of their lives. Within Orange Blossom CG, the gardeners stress the level of diversity that Orange Blossom CG has achieved. As John Matthews puts it: It' s being around [Barbara and Gai l], and meeting people while we' re out here and having something in common. It' s just such a diverse group here, that' s one of the things I real ly liked about being here is it' s just such a diverse group. When you' ve spent most of your life in Mississippi you don' t really see a lot of these cultures and things like th at, that are just a little bit different. Orange Blossom CG has gardeners from a multitude of backgrounds, including Puerto Rico, Spain, France, Russia, Ukraine, Burma, and the Caribbean. Barbara and Gail are very proud of the diversity of the garden. The three themes described above (nature in the city, education, and garden space as democratic space), have been important throughout the evolution of community gardening, and are definitely important to understanding the meaning that has been assigned to Or ange Blossom CG by its cultivators. These three themes shape the experience of the garden space. In this next section I will examine the resources many community gardens provide, and how these resources fit into or don't fit into why people garden at Orang e Blossom CG. Why Do People Community Garden? When asked, most gardeners have a story about how they got into community gardening and why. Most people come to Orange Blossom CG because they are looking for something. In Celia Arroyo's words, "most of [th e new gardeners] come with some interest. Either they have done it when they were little, or their grandparents, or their
! )" parents, or someone had been interested or had been close to them or something. Or, they had been planting in their homes, in their ya rds, and when that is so I mean that's very good their gardens usually progress." Even gardeners who aren't necessarily actively looking for community or a new skill come for a reason, like Steve Haber who found Orange Blossom CG because, "when I retired two years ago, my wife said if I don't find something to do to get out of the house I would be in trouble." Community gardens provide an abundance of resources. Lawson outlines six resources: food, recreation, education, economic opportunity, community ac tivism, and environmental restoration. Each of these resources were mentioned by gardeners at Orange Blossom CG. Food is an obvious resource that Orange Blossom CG provides. Gardeners focus almost entirely on growing edible crops rather than ornamentals. When introducing Orange Blossom CG at the beginning of the monthly gardening class the garden hosts, Gail said "this is not Selby Botanical Garden here it's not about the aesthetics .it's food, it's about food crops." Growing vegetables is the main draw for many gardeners. Pauline has a garden at home, but she chooses to garden at Orange Blossom CG as well because she doesn't get enough sun in her yard at home to grow vegetable crops. Lisa Merritt, a retiree in the garden, said that she does it because it provides her peace of mind when she knows exactly where her food is coming from, claiming that she was a "locavore". Bill Knapp explained that gardeners "get a certain level of satisfaction" from growing their own food and eating it. Gardeners like John Matthews expressed the importance of sharing food with family and friends. John shared with me that the vegetables he shares with his in laws have helped him to find common ground with them.
! )# There is a level of empowerment that comes with fulfi lling a basic human need, being able to feed yourself and others. Many gardeners also cited recreation as a reason for why they participate in community gardening. For many retiree gardeners, gardening provides them with most of their exercise. Pauline, a soft spoken but energetic retiree, goes to the garden to maintain an active lifestyle. Pauline filled the children's garden with compost almost singlehandedly. For weeks she could be seen wheeling barrows of compost back and forth across the garden. S teve was afraid she would "have a coronary." For Celia's husband Otilio, the recreation that the garden provides is key. Celia says "My husband needs this a lot he does need this activity. Now we live in an apartment, but we lived in a house befor e, and we had a garden, and he was always outside in the garden, always." In addition to physical activity, Orange Blossom CG also provides an avenue for socializing. According to Suzannah Benedetti, as you get older your social networks get smaller, so for her gardening at Orange Blossom CG has provided a means for meeting more people and expanding her social network. All the gardeners I spoke with mentioned education as a resource that Orange Blossom CG provides. As I pointed out earlier, education tak es many forms at Orange Blossom CG. One form is learning through hands on experience. Pauline told me gardening is "a learning experience you learn by doing". Gardeners talked about the importance of trial and error in learning how to garden, seei ng what works and what doesn't work and then continuing to experiment from there. Knowledge sharing is another important form of education within the garden. When discussing what he has been learning recently about gardening John Matthews said:
! *% I'm just trying to follow the seasons as much as I can. I'm trying to learn about that a little bit more, I think its kinda interesting about how Florida does things, and learning these historic cold periods, and what you can do through that, because I am seeing some crops that come through like rhubarb right now. I only know one person that's growing it and it's beautiful. It's really good. So okay, rhubarb needs to go in in November, so it will go through the cold and look really nice. As mentioned befor e, many of the gardeners look to more experienced gardeners like Barbara and Gail for guidance. Whenever Barbara or Gail is at the garden, people congregate around them and ask them question after question about what to do about a certain pest or what sho uld be grown at a certain time of year. Gardeners learn from their fellow gardeners. Education is especially important in terms of the kids' gardening projects going on at Orange Blossom CG. The gardeners who work with kids seem to have a sense of respo nsibility for bestowing their knowledge on younger generations. For example, John Matthews feels a certain sense of obligation to MaQuan: "MaQuan, he's one of my connections here, when he said he wanted to be a farmer I [decided to do] whatever I can if I can help to get more farmers, you know I did something, that's something you don't write about, it's just I helped someone find a way to enjoy their life." Many of the community outreach programs Orange Blossom CG has started, such as the Boys and Girls Club garden, the children's learning garden, and the Grassroots Food Pantry have some form of focus on education. Economic opportunity as a resource in the garden is a more debatable. The gardeners stress the importance of the free resources Orang e Blossom CG provides. The garden provides free water, tools, compost, and mulch. For Sybil Christensen, these free resources are what drew her to Orange Blossom CG. In hard economic times, the expenses associated with gardening in her own yard prevente d it from being a viable
! *$ option. By gardening at Orange Blossom CG, Sybil Christensen cuts down on excess expenses by utilizing the resources Orange Blossom CG provides and augmenting her diet with the vegetables she harvests. Some gardeners don't see a s much of an economic benefit a Sybil. Joan Peters said she had spent about $90 on her last growing season and only harvested a couple of tomatoes and peppers. Many of the gardeners share the sentiment of trying to save money. John Matthews puts it this way: "I try not to spend very much money. I don't want this to be a drain where feel like I'm just dumping money, because I'm not that good yet ." Some gardeners expressed an interest in selling extra produce to fund their plots. Though there is debate about the degree to which gardening saves money, John Beckner and Celia Arroyo see the potential for economics to play a role in spurring the gro wth of more community gardens. According to Celia, "people are so scared nowadays, but on the other hand, every problem brings opportunities to do things, and the fact that the food is so expensive, it could be a very attractive element in growing things. Community activism is a sphere in which Orange Blossom CG has just begun to scratch the surface. As with education, community activism can take on many different forms depending on the definition of community activism. The mere presence of a community garden can be seen as a form of activism. By occupying space that could be Wheelbarrows, rakes, shovels, and hoes, just a fraction of the tools O range Blossom provides. Photo by author.
! *& used for any variety of uses, community gardens assert the importance of greenspace. Currently many gardeners see Orange Blossom CG as a form of activism in terms of its being an ex ample of sustainable practices. John Beckner describes Orange Blossom CG as a part of a bigger network of organizations focused on sustainable practices. Beyond b eing an example of urban gardening, Orange Blossom houses examples of composting and worm c omposting, and Barbara and Gail are in the process of setting up a rainwater collection system. Barbara is also networking with Citizens Lobbying for Urban Chicken Keeping (CLUCK), a gr oup that is trying to overturn a City of Sarasota ordinance that keeps residents from keeping chickens on their property. Barbara is hoping that since Orange Blossom CG is an agricultural center and not a private residence, the city will allow the garden to house a mobile chicken coop. If the city agrees, Barbara hopes that Orange Blossom CG by acting as a successful model for keeping chickens and utilizing chicken manure, the garden can help CLUCK overturn the ordinance. The children's programs the gard en is nurturing are also a form of community activism. I will go into more detail about these projects and the idea of wider community development later in chapter five of this thesis. Orange Blossom CG has a lot of potential as a site of further communi ty activism. Rainwater collection barrel at Orange Blossom CG. Photo by author.
! *' As representations of nature in the city, community gardening may also be seen as a form of environmental restoration. Lawson points out that urban gardens add biological diversity to the city landscape. With a diverse group of gardeners comes a diversit y of crops and gardening designs as each gardener interprets "nature" in their own way. John Beckner's experimentation with a wide variety of Florida natives is a prime example of environmental restoration. Celia explained to me that the space that Orange Blossom CG occupies is "land that has not been cultivated [in a long time], and there are a lot of trees, and a lot of shade, and you have to sort of build the soil." Just the simple act of building up the fertility of the soil in the area Orange Blossom CG occupies is a form of environmental restoration. The idea of building up the soil within the garden was a common theme. Gardeners from Rosemary CG talked about this in terms of comparison, recalling the richness of the soil at Rosemary and how they ne eded to work to build up the soil at Orange Blossom CG. Gardeners who had been at Orange Blossom CG for the previous season talked about how the soil looked better this season and that it was starting to become more fertile. With this concept of building up the soil came the idea that a better plot should be left for future gardeners. Currently, Barbara and Gail have taken it upon themselves to contribute to the overall soil building of the garden by planting peanuts as a cover crop in vacant plots as wel l as communal space when it is not in use during the height of the summer. Community gardens are a far cry from both the mono cropping of large scale agriculture and the scantily landscaped medians on Sarasota's Tamiami Trail. The community garden "creat es an opportunity for people to see their own impact on
! *( ecological systems through such activities as composting garbage or measuring the inputs and outputs of food production" (Lawson 2005: 297). Community gardening is both an expression of environmenta l restoration and an example of the importance of environmental restoration. These past few sections have examined how gardeners at Orange Blossom CG define and experience community and co mmunity gardening in various ways. In this next section, I will present the ways in which the gardeners' social construction of the community garden space is reflected in their garden styles. Diversity within the Garden: Gardening Techniques and Styles B arbara and Gail are very proud of the diversity within the garden. In my interviews and discussions with gardeners many mentioned that diversity was one of the community garden's aspects they enjoyed most. Orange Blossom CG is impressively diverse. This di versity is not limited to ethnicity or nationality. According to Barbara, "we come from all walks of life with very varied ethnic, social, economic, and cultural backgrounds. Gardeners range from MD's and CPA's to mechanics and laborers. Some have very lim ited education and some have PhD's. Some are recent immigrants and others have been here for many generations." The diversity of the garden is mirrored by the plethora of gardening styles that exist within the garden. Gail likes to say that "with 50 different gardeners you get 50 different gardening styles." This diversity of technique fits into an idea of a hands on Communal "tumbler" and square frame composters. Photo by author.
! *) learning that persists within community gardening. Some people go with a traditional agricultural model while others use a squ are foot gardening approach and everything in between. All of these models people choose to use are based on the intentions they have for their garden: what they want to grow, what they already know about gardening and what they want to learn. In this sect ion I will lay out the different approaches that gardeners take to the physical layout of their gardening, highlighting the broad spectrum that exists within the garden as a result of the individual plot design. The majority of the gardeners, including Barbara and Gail, use traditional gardening technique that resembles a large scale agricultural model. This model consists of first tilling the soil, breaking up the earth so the roots of plants can easily permeate the soil and access nutrients. Next the gardener builds up rows of earth while leaving pathways (furrows) between the rows to walk on so the rows of soil can be accessed for planting and watering. Many of the newer gardeners use this method, following Barbara and Gail's example. Even within this model, however, there is a great amount of customization. People orient their rows either north south or east west, aligning it in a way that allows the garden optimal exposure to the sun. The widths and Collard greens and mustard greens grown in rows in Nancy Booker and M.L. Baldwin's combined plot. Photo by author. Less traditional rows. Photo by author.
! ** lengths of the rows vary, based on personal preference and aesthetic. Some people even mix this model with other gardening techn iques. Rano Stankevskaya, a gardener from Russia, set up her garden with a combination of rows and square mounds, along with a few pots of herbs. Box gardening and the square foot gardening technique in many ways operate in the same way, the idea being t hat they are space efficient and need limited upkeep once established. Mel Bartholomew, the founder of square foot gardening, describes the developing the technique as follows: When I ran a community garden in the late 1970s, I discovered that, except f or those belonging to the dedicated or tireless workers, most of the gardens turned into unattended, weed filled messes soon after summer was under way. I decided there had to be a better way, and I went about creating a new system that is so simple and e asy that anyone can enjoy a weed free garden all year and produce a continuous harvest. That system is the square foot garden (Bartholomew 2005: 2). Gardeners who use the square foot or box gardening technique never have to break ground. They simply bui ld beds above ground and fill the beds with compost. This technique is especially useful for gardeners that don't have time to shape raised beds out of earth, and engage in a constant battle against weeds. Barbara and Gail showed me Richard Htee's plot a s an example of the box gardening technique. Richard has a limited amount if time to dedicate to gardening. Box gardening has proven to be the perfect option for him. Barbara and Gail joke that whenever they would look at his garden they always thought he wasn't harvesting anything, but "every time Richard comes he always leaves with a couple of handfuls of stuff to bring home" (Gail interview). Box gardening A gar den using the square foot gardening technique. Photo by author.
! *+ and square foot gardeni ng are also a great option for gardeners with physical impairments because they are easier to access and can be raised to any height off the ground. John Matthews claimed a framed in square foot garden for his neighbor because she has various physical di fficulties. Again, there is a lot of room for personalization within the box and square foot gardening techniques. Some are framed, some are left unframed, they are constructed at various heights and dimensi ons out of a variety of materials. Some gardeners buy pre made frames, while others construct their own out of recycled materials. Box gardening is often used in conjunction with other gardening methods. Many gardeners use boxes to augment their site even if they are not strictly box gardening. There are many ways to customize plots. One way is through irrigation. A number of gardeners with a fair amount of capital to invest in their garden come up with elaborate irrigation systems. For example, Steve H aber has a drip irrigation system that he uses along with some small sprinklers. He has constructed his system in such a way that it meets the water requirements of his plants. When he comes to water his garden he just sits back and relaxes while his irri gation system does all the work. Roy Wyatt also has a complex irrigation system that he constructed out of PVC pipe. He made the plan for the system himself and constructed it all at home, setting it up later in his plot at the garden. The system consis ts of rows of PVC pipe that lay on top of an elevated garden Richard Htee's box garden. Photo by author.
! *" bed. The pipes have holes drilled in them at about one foot intervals. The whole system is designed to provide drip irrigation, a slower, more precise form of watering. On top of the PVC he h as a layer of pine needles to prevent weeds from receiving sunlight and proliferating. His intention behind the system was to make his garden as low maintenance as possible, so when he goes out of town his plants won't get too dry. Steve and Roy's gardening systems reflect their handy man skills and to some extent their activeness in the garden. On the othe r side of the spectrum, there are less structured gardens, like John Beckner's garden, which is geared towards experimentation. John's garden is full of Florida natives, reflecting his expertise in botany and his interests in Floridian plant ecology. His plot houses a number of botanical experiments. One thing he has been experimen ting with is the potential to use a Florida native species of plant as both a ground cover for gardens and an alternative to lawns. The plant needs very little water and has nice flowers that give it some aesthetic quality as an ornamental. John has been walking on the plant every time he visits to see if it holds up. This is the test that will determine its potential as a replacement for more water intensive Roy Wyatt's plot, complete with a homebuilt watering system. Photo by author. John Beckner's plot, f ull of plants native to Florida. Photo by author.
! *# traditional lawns. John's garden definitely does not follow the traditional gardening aesthetic a nd looks messy when compared to some of the other gardener's neat rows or boxes. The garden reflects both its use and the person who tends it. The messiness of John's garden and the story behind it make it a popular exhibit when Gail and Barbara give tours This idea of experimentation and learning fits into the goals of a lot of the gardeners to various degrees. The gardeners test new approaches to fertilizing, herbicides, and repelling pests. For example, at the beginning of the growing season, Angela M iller attempted to build up her soil by tilling dried seaweed into her plot. There is also a great amount of diversity in terms of the plant varieties that people choose to grow and cultivate within thei r plots. Some gardeners have a wide variety of plants. John Grimes listed for me wh at he was growing in his plot: "I' ve g ot snap peas, I've got broccoli, I' ve got peppers and tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, basil and lettuce, a variety of lettuces, and what else do we have we have some flowers that we' re growing, and oh! Br ussel sprouts, and I think that' s it, I'm probably forgetting something, but that' s it, a little bit of everything all t he stuff we like to eat." Other gardeners like Nancy Book er and her brother M.L. Baldwin choose to cultivate only a few, growing a lot of the same thing so they can share it with their extended family and friends. In some plots, gardeners represent their heritage by growing the ingredients required for their fa vorite traditional dishes. While giving me a tour of their garden, Celia Otilio and Celia Arroyo's plot. Photo by author.
! +% and Otilio pointed out the ingredients for one of their favorite hot sauces, and explained to me how they make it. They additionally showed me their tomatillos, a fruit that is centra l to many Latin American dishes. Many gardeners also planted heirloom varieties of vegetables that are not found in the grocery store. Most gardeners use their plots primarily for the cultivation of edible plants, but some also enjoy interspersing some ornamentals that are a form of natural pest control in addition to contributing to the beauty of a garden plot. John Matthews taught me that Geraniums naturally repel red spiders mites. Gardeners also augment their gardeni ng spaces by adding garden signs, ceramic statues, birdbaths, sundials and outdoor seating. Within the garden space gardeners have many means of asserting their individual identity, and shaping the garden space. Every gardener has a different reason for g ardening the way they do. Some reasons include easy upkeep, experimentation, water conservation, maximum yield, and tradition. Some people are very attached to their method of gardening and others are just getting started, emulating the styles of more expe rienced gardeners. Individual garden plots reflect the gardener, revealing the vegetables the gardener likes to eat, methods they have learned, their interests, and the overall meaning the garden holds for the gardener. Gardener Interaction One of the most important things is know your fellow gardeners and knowing their names, like you did, so whenever I see anybody I just wave to them I think that s important t o o, to know your other people in your community garden" Steve Haber Garden dcor. Photo by author.
! +$ As discussed ear lier, much of the power community gardening holds for gardeners at Orange Blossom CG centers around the concept of the creation of community, but strangely there is a disjunct between how the gardeners talk about the importance of community to community ga rdening and the level of community that has formed within the garden. Many of the gardeners echo Celi a and Otilio's sentiments that we [as gardeners] have felt good talking to the people and growing with them, and learning, because its always learning, y ou always feed each ot her and you nurture each other." Despite this shared sentiment, most gardeners expressed that actual interaction within the garden is often rare. It is hard to pinpoint why there is so little interaction, but from observation I have come up with a few possible explanations. The majority of the gardeners said that because of their schedules they come at odd hours when there are usually no other gardeners at Orange Blossom CG. John Matthews expressed this situation well: I probably come at the strangest hou rs if somebod y comes in I' ll alway s speak to them, how's it comin'?,' watcha doing?' You know. If I' m here by myself, and I r eally do need time by myself, I'll sit down here and I' ll just listen. I l ove watching bees, really there' s a lot round. Right now I' m kind of scoping out where the flowers [are], so I know where the bees are. It gets my mind off work. This gardening is really the best medicine, I just don't take enough of it." From John's quote it is clear that when people Bees pollinate the hollyhocks in Pauline Everett's plot. Photo by author.
! +& are around he likes to con verse with them, but the fact that he comes at strange hours prevents him from getting to know some of the other gardeners. Most of the interaction that currently exists within the garden takes place between people who knew each other prior to their time in the garden, or is facilitated by Barbara and Gail. A contributing factor to the lack of interaction in the garden is a change that I saw took place during my time collecting data in the garden. Recently gardeners have been allowed to put set timers for their watering systems, so they don't have to worry about coming to water. The use of a timer significantly cuts down the amount of time a gardener has to spend in the garden. The spatial set up and th e sheer size of Orange Blossom CG are another cause for the lack of interaction between gardeners. Gardeners told me that often when they are gardening it takes them a while to realize that another gardener has entered the garden, because their plot might be on the complete opposite side of the garden. Often the sheds which are in the center of the garden hide gardeners on opposite sides from each other. In this vein, logistically communicating with someone who is on the other side of the garden doesn' t work when you are actively tending your garden. For example, you can't talk to someone on the other side of the garden when you are there to pull weeds. In addition, the garden has two entrances, one on the eastern side of the fenced The southernmost garden shed. Photo by author.
! +' enclosure and one on the western side. The presence of two entrances makes it even more difficult to realize that someone else has entered the garden. Within Orange Blossom CG, certain elements of physical space work to hinder interaction. Gardeners like John Matthews also expressed a desire for solace that the garden provides, a space to relax and clear one's head. This idea fits into the idea of a healing power that comes with the communion between man and the soil. Despite some gardener's need for time alone, the gener al view among gardeners was that they would like to participate in more interaction within the garden. Gardeners like Steve Haber have even made efforts to start community events. Steve said, "last year Joan and I took it upon ourselves that we're gonna have Friday night in the garden, everybody brings something and they share, and they bring anything they want to drink, and somebody had a boombox, bring that, and a little get together on a Friday here, and we had a good turn out a couple times." But when they went out of town the potluck stopped. There has been a lack of community events for the gardeners within Orange Blossom CG, either because people are too busy to organize them, or they just don't take the in itiative. Events that do exist such as t he First Saturday gardening class, are poorl y attended by Orange Blossom CG' s gardeners. For the gardeners who moved from Rosemary CG to Orange Blossom CG, there is a stark contrast between the community that existed within Rosemary and the lack of interaction between gardeners at Orange Blossom CG. Barbara told me: In a lot of ways [Orange Blossom CG has a] bigger community, we probably have more ethnic diversity At Rosemary we probably saw each other a lot more because we all tended to be more working on the same schedule whereas at Orange Blossom there's the morning people, there are the afternoon people, there are the Sunday people and there are people who might be there just about any time.
! +( Celia and Nancy both described Rosem ary CG as being "cosy." According to Celia, as a smaller space, there was more interaction both between the gardeners within the garden and people outside of the garden through garden events. Celia sees a correlation between the increase of space and a re duction in gardener interaction. Despite the lack of interaction that currently exists, the desire for community that was expressed by the majority of gardeners provides hope for the future development of closer ties between Orange Blossom CG's gardeners In my own experience, gardeners embraced my interest in their gardens, gardening methods, and views on the garden. People were very open to talking to me and were very excited to give me tours of their plots. The enthusiasm is there, it just might take time for more of a community feel to develop. Orange Blossom CG is a young garden. In Celia's words "this is a very young community, it is still developing. This is a developing community." Communal Space and Communal Resources It is true that Orange Blossom CG's spatial set up in some ways hinders the devel opment of community, but in other ways the garden's spatial set up, through communal space, and its common resources actually nurtures community. Barbara and Gail repeatedly told me that in comparis on to Rosemary CG, Orange Blossom CG's large size provides many more opportunities for community development through communal projects. All of the area within Orange Blossom CG's fence that is not occupied by individual plots is considered communal space. One element of this space is the area on the garden's borders that are occupied by communal fruit trees. According to Barbara
! +) and Gail, when these trees fruit, everyone is welcome to pick their fruit. This is also true for the pineapple garden that is near the western gate. The picnic benches are another source of communal space that foster mingling among the gardeners and communal activity. There are many projects going on within the garden, that have the potential to bring gardeners closer together and further cultivate community (I will go into greater detail about these projects in chapter five). The problem with these projects is that most of the gardeners aren't involved with them. When I asked abo ut the projects that were going on, most of the gardeners only had a vague idea of what they were. Barbara and Gail are responsible for starting most of the projects in Orange Blossom CG, and they get very little help from their fellow gardeners in these endeavors. As Steve Haber notes, "part of the contract, if I remember, that we signed for our plot is that we will participate," but the majority of gardeners don't even help with the upkeep of the more general communal space, through mowing uncultivated areas and keeping paths cl ear. Steve puts it this way: 80 percent of the work is do ne by 20 percent of the people." Everyone benefits from the communal space within the garden in some form, but only a handful of the more active gardeners take care of communal space and participate in communal projects. Orange Communal pineapple garden. Photo by author.
! +* Blossom CG has a lot of potential, but to realize the vision that Barbara and Gail hold for the garden, they are going to need the commitment of the other gardeners. There is definitely a feeling of community within Orange Blossom CG, which will surely continue to develop as the garden matures. According to Philip Selznick "the main framework [of community] is that a framework of shared beliefs, interests, and commitme nts unites a set of varied groups and activities. Some are central, others peripheral, but all are connected by bonds that establish a common faith or fate, a sense of belonging, and a supportive structure of activities and relationships" (Selznick 1996: 1 95). This definition definitely fits into the communal feel that gardeners referenced. Though each gardener might not know every other gardener's name, they know that they all share a common bond based on their interest in gardening and their involvement i n community gardening. Each gardener physically constructs their plot of garden space based upon a social construction of the community garden developed by both the collective and the individual.
! ++ Chapter 4 The Redevelopment of Newtown: Concerns f or Gentrification Orange Avenue Park. Photo by author. In chapter three, I examined the community that exists within Orange Blossom CG. In this next chapter I will look that the ways that gardeners at Orange Blossom CG view Newtown and the ways in which they feel Orange Blossom CG is perceived by the Newtown community. I critique the plan for Newtown's redevelopment and examine the ways in which Orange Blossom CG can fit into positive redevelopment goals. I advocate more public input in the process of th e social production of space through out city planning and redevelopment endeavors.
! +" Social Construction of Space: The Gardener's View of Newtown There is no doubt that Newtown has a reputation within Sarasota. When I asked the gardeners about the area, the first thing most gardeners talked about were the shootings that have taken place in the area over the past couple of years. Gardeners consistent ly referenced a shooting that had taken place close to the time of my research. In November of 2009, a 16 year old boy had been shot and killed in the area. Many of the gardeners expressed a concern for their safety. The garden's location was described as being in a more dangerous part of town. Gardeners like Pauline referenced their family's concern for their safety when they first started gardening at Orange Blossom CG. Pauline explained that the neighborhood had a reputation and that her family had been worried about her being in the garden alone, but the fence had calmed much of their concern. This is a perfect example of the development of mental maps that scholars like anthropologist Theresa Caldeira and urbanist Ali Madanipour reference, in which peop le avoid certain regions that they perceive as dangerous. While Barbara and Gail always leave the gate open when they are in the garden, most gardeners, including Pauline, lock the fence behind them. In my view, this further perpetuates a kind of us versu s them' mentality that seems to be built upon a fear of the "roughness" of the neighborhood. Barbara and Gail acknowledged the reputation of the neighborhood and talked about it realistically, telling a story of witnessing a shooting while they were in th e garden. Barbara recounted how a "crazy man" was walking down Orange Avenue and firing his gun at random. Gail explained, "the man wasn't purposefully shooting at us, he was just firing his gun, he was crazy." Gail went on to explain how the neighborhood kids that were with them, though they were scared, seemed to deal with it as if it were
! +# normal. Gail explained that the kids "said they were supposed to go inside whenever they hear that noise." These kinds of stories reveal a common perception that the ne ighborhood is unsafe and represent a social construction of space on the part of the gardeners. Many of the gardeners assign the neighborhood this symbolic meaning of drug dealing and violence, which in turn shapes their interaction with the neighborhood s pace. This is not to say that some of the gardeners' perceptions of the space aren't true there have been shootings and there are people in the area who sell drugs but it does shape the gardeners' behavior in ways that result in a further limiting of neigh borhood members' access to the garden. Stories about the neighborhood justified the construction of the fence and cause gardeners to lock the gate behind them, rather than following Barbara and Gail's example of leaving the garden unlocked and open when ga rdeners are present. When gardeners lock the gate behind them, it further excludes local children and residents who may be interested in the activities of the garden. Simply leaving the garden gate open when a number of gardeners are around would make a hu ge difference in the local community's access to the garden. This exemplifies the way in which the social construction of space influences the social production of space, as well as the behavior of the gardeners. Perceptions of Newtown being unsafe was a f actor in the construction of the fence, as well as many gardeners' decisions to lock the gate behind them, rather than leaving the garden open to the wider community when they occupy the garden. Most of the gardeners explained that they did not interact with people in the neighborhood so they did not really know how the surrounding area viewed the garden. In Steve's words, "that's another different world that I am not familiar with, the public
! "% hou sing you know, I mean that's a whole different world right there than the area [to the south of the garden] you don't see anybody [from the public housing] ever gardening." In Steve's quote, Orange Blossom CG's placement on the border of Newtown's ar ea limits is explicit. He points out the difference he sees between the public housing and the rest of the neighborhood, especially the area to the south of the garden which is right on the border of the Newtown redevelopment area, an area that some of the gardeners live in. The majority of the gardeners were familiar with events of vandalism that had taken place in the past. Gardeners mentioned the incident (previously described) when someone had turned on all of the water spigots and left them running, f looding the garden and resulting in a huge water bill. They also mentioned a period of time where vegetables were stolen from the garden. Celia expressed disappointment that not only had the vegetables been stolen, but that they had been picked before they were ripe, so whoever had taken they didn't really benefit. Celia was especially vocal about her opinion on the neighborhood garden relationship. She said to me: I'll tell you the truth, we weren't so sure how things would come out in the neighborhood, be cause we have a different neighborhood we live in here. Not because they are low income, but because their people are having problems, you know. There are drugs around and of course that is part of, unfortunately, being in the low range, you know, that tho se opportunities come out. And we are really in a sense creating, as a society, we are creating this situation for people, because poverty is a systemic thing The thing is you have to prepare the community, before you enter into their home. It's li ke if you're going to visit someone, but you're not the owners, you know. You have to really make them feel that you are here to help them, and that has been very nicely done, that you are here to do something nice and not hurt them in any way. But that sh ould have been done before There were little occasions of vandalism from the community, but that was to be expected. It's like a test. The people are there, and in quotes, they are
! "$ the whites and we are not, and they'r e assaulting us, and its norma l. I mean, I find that normal, you know. But, meanwhile, while you're inside, you have your concern. They did a few things, but now it's all quiet In this quote Celia captures her concern about the area, while giving her own explanation of why there were instances of vandalism, describing an idea of systemic poverty for which the community should not be blamed. Celia explained that she and her husband Otilio had reservations about gardening at Orange Blossom CG after the destruction of their plot at Rosem ary CG because they didn't know the neighborhood very well but were aware of its reputation of drugs. She went on to explain how she did not blame people for feeling upset about the garden and participating in acts of vandalism, because in her opinion this reflected a failure on the part of the gardeners as a community to connect with the neighborhood before they started construction. She explains the thought process she thinks they may have had with a similar 'us versus them' mentality that is set up by th e fence, but in terms of race. The end of this quote shows how events of vandalism have stopped. Celia sees the work of Barbara and Gail with the kids as instrumental in the continual process of forging a positive relationship with the neighborhood. John Grimes echoed this sentiment to me: I don't really know what the community around us thinks of us. At first from what I understood they weren't really happy we were here, but over time things have mellowed out, and we work with the kids. I think tha t's a good thing, you know, get them in here, 'cause they get home and tell Mom and Dad what they're doing. So, I think that was really helpful in breaking the ice and some of the resentment. This was open I guess before the city put the fence in, and they hung out here, the neighbors did. So, its improving. Most of the gardeners shared a view that Orange Blossom CG is forging an increasingly positive relationship with the neighborhood, seeing the instances of vandalism as
! "& something of the past. The garde ners acknowledged the lack of neighborhood involvement in the garden, but seemed to think that was a choice on the part of the neighbors having to do with neighbors not having the time or the desire to garden. Gardeners continually pointed to the kids' inv olvement in the garden as the relationship builder between Orange Blossom CG and the surrounding community. The gardeners' view of Newtown as a criminal hotspot is definitely problematic but is part of a larger problem within our society and popular news. When the only news you see about an area is about the latest shooting and other reports of crime and poverty, it is natural that there would be concerns for safety. The view of the gardeners at Orange Blossom CG fit into a larger societal view of the crim inal poor (Goode 2010: 192). Some gardeners had first hand experience interacting with angry neighborhood residents when Orange Blossom CG first started to be constructed. One gardener described being "cussed out" by a resident yelling about the African Am erican community being "pushed out of the area." The gardener explained to me that in his opinion, people in public housing should be trying to improve their lives, people should "try to get out of [public housing], everybody should be trying to get out of this I know poverty, that is not poverty, so anybody that's talking about how bad it is over there, get off your ass." This quote relays a "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" mentality, a view of the impoverished being to blame for their own pligh t by not taking initiative and climbing up the social ladder. Barbara explained to me that "when you've got, I think, 18 food distribution sites for All Faith's Foodbank in the Newtown area, just about every church why would you want to grow your own stuff? That involves work." She spoke of people in Newtown
! "' forming dependencies she said that "we unfortunately, in Newtown, developed the 'somebody's gonna take care of me and give me' attitude amongst many of the people." She pointed to public housing as an example of a system that was supposed to act as means to help people that has failed she told me : "P ublic housing should have been a transitional thing, it shoul dn't have been something where 'I was brought up here, and I'll move back here and I'll raise my kids here and they'll raise their kids here, and they'll raise their kids here' In some instances it was intended to be workforce housing, but if public housing was intended to be workforce housing, isn't their something wrong with your pay scale and benefits plan? That was where you started the dependency cycle." Talking with Barbara about Newtown was very illuminating because she is very realisti c about the area, and through her job with the city is very familiar with Newtown. Some of what she said made me uncomfortable, sounding reminiscent of writers like Charles Murray who argued that welfare programs have resulted in the destruction of family and work ethics, creating a "welfare dependency" (Murray 1984), an idea that writers like Judith Goode have worked hard to dispel. As Goode argues, "blaming the persistence of poverty in capitalist societies on the individual moral flaws and the deviant cu ltures of poor people is a belief that has developed with industrial capitalism itself. These ideas dehumanize poor people and make them into the 'Other': people who are socially different, isolated from normal citizens, and threatening to society through crime, violence, and other moral lapses" (Goode 2010: 185). Despite Barbara's acceptance of the idea of welfare dependency, she definitely acknowledges the role that institutions form in reinforcing a structure of inequality, so for her these two opinions are not mutually exclusive. She has formed friendships with many active members of the Newtown community, and definitely sees a side of Newtown that is vital and actively engaging in revitalization efforts.
! "( Despite misconceptions about the formation of de pendency among the poor, the idea of fostering independence and empowering individuals to improve their own situations is an important and valuable goal. Barbara is very adamant about creating programs within the garden, especially for the children, in whi ch participants learn how to be self sufficient. She would rather teach them how to grow their own strawberry than just give them one of her strawberries. Barbara's views about the neighborhood push her to try and help the community through programs like O range Blossom CG's partnership wit h the Boys and Girls Club, the children's g arden, and the Grassroots Food Pantry. Part of the reason Barbara and Gail chose the site (at the recommendation of Eva Worden's tutorial group) was because it was in Newtown. Bar bara and Gail, based on their perceptions of the area, thought that a garden would be a real asset to the area. Barbara believes that Orange Blossom CG can help to breakdown the barrier of 17 th Street, the street that marks the boundary of the Newtown area She said to me, "you would not believe how many people won't go past 17 th Street." Just as social constructions of space can lead to exclusive measures such as the construction of a fence, it can also provide the impetus for programs that have the potent ial to positively influence the area. To understand how Orange Blossom CG can fit into positive development goals of Newtown, an understanding of Newtown's history must first be established. The History of Newtown Newtown is the second historic core of Sarasota's African American community. From the initial development in 1914, Newtown has experienced and witnessed the turn of many life changing events for decades. From the early years of segregation to the fight for equality, our community is committed to transforming the past struggle into a prosperous future, lost dreams into renewed hope, broken families into mended
! ") relationships and saddened hearts into joyful spirits. This is a new beginning for Newtown." (City of Sarasota 2008 ) Newtown occupies a 1.5 square mile area. It is bordered on the north by Myrtle Street; to the east by the Seminole Gulf Railroad right of way; to the west by N. Tamiami Trail (US 41); and to the south by 17th Street (See Appendix VIII for a map of Newtown's boundaries). The area houses five parks: 35 th Street Park, Cohen Park, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park, Fredd Atkins Park and Orange Avenue Park. Orange Blossom CG occupies the eastern part of Orange Avenue Park. Residing in the area of Newtown within the City of Sarasota situates the Orange Blossom CG Community Garden within a unique urban experience. Initially developed in 1914, Newtown is the place of residence for the core of Sarasota's African American Community, and as such has an extraordinary history. Newtown's leg acy consists of African American entrepreneurship through years of segregation up through the civil rights era. According to the Newtown website, around the turn of the century, about ten families lived in the vicinity. Florida's boom cities created a dema nd for laborers and skilled workmen, resulting in the growth of the African American population in Sarasota. African American men and women came "to be dockworkers, fishermen, chauffeurs, maids, laundresses, and cooks. They came to work the rails, the citr us farms, and the circus" (City of Sarasota: History of the Newtown Community 2008 ). During the 1950s and 60s, Newtown residents were very active in resisting continued racism in Sarasota. Three years after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, Sarasota County schools were still segregated. It wasn't until a desegregation lawsuit was filed by the NAACP in federal court that the first African American student enrolled in a previously all white Sarasota school in 1962, eight years after the original Brown v.
! "* Board of Education decision. Activism in Newtown continued when the City of Sarasota decided to close the African American schools in Newtown and bus black students from Newtown to white schools. The Newtown community saw this as a threat to their commu nity identity and responded by boycotting Sarasota County public schools; 85% of the County's African American students participated in the boycott. The students participating in the boycott attended "freedom schools" set up in local churches, which were t aught by a mixture of New College and high school students. Barbara Langston, a resident of Newtown and gardener at Orange Blossom CG, recalled growing up in Newtown: We had a wonderful childhood coming up in here. We wanted for nothing, we were not subje cted to the racism that was happening to others outside of here. Our parents had to endure it, but they put everything in our two black communities that we needed as a people, and we were reared by a village. That means that everybody in those communities knew each other, they knew you and they took that interest in you as a child. And we often say now 'cause as you walk up and down the street and see these children hanging out up and down [MLK street] that could not have happened in our time, because you d id not hang out on corners, because the adults would not have allowed it, and a whole lot of other things that these kids do. It wasn't just your parents, the citizens of this community helped to raise its children we realize where we failed, because we did not remain that village. Barbara Langston explained to me that the tight community she remembers from her childhood does not exist anymore; in the past children were raised by the community as whole, but today Barbara does not see that. As an acti ve member of the Newtown community and a community liaison for the Amaryllis Park Neighborhood Association, Barbara participates in many of the committees connected with Newtown redevelopment plans. Barbara has been working to bring that community feeling back to Newtown. She expressed to me that the history of Newtown is very important to her and other residents because it represents that vital community that once was and can be again. Newtown's
! "+ history is a source of community pride today. Newtown's vital history is still a part of the community's present and connected to plans for Newtown's future. Although Newtown residents have been very active in addressing issues of segregation in their community, Newtown is still a largely segregated region of Sarasota. Sadly, the successful local business aspect of Newtown's past has not carried over to today. According to the Newtown section of the City of Sarasota website: From the early years through the 1940s, the street now known as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Way was the thriving heart of the then segregated enclave of Newtown. Decades of disinvestment and capital flight, along with a concentration of government subsidized housing and social services, have caused blighted conditions in areas next to a thri ving area of single family homes. Much of the neighborhood's multifamily housing has not received maintenance, which has resulted in substantial deterioration. Take a bike ride down Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, and you will see the truth of this state ment. There is a sharp contrast between the urban chic of St. Armand's circle, and the vacant lots and neglected buildings of Newtown's once bustling business center. Many scholars argue that public history can be used to help revitalize communities (Hurle y 2006). Deborah Tall says, "a weak sense of the past encourages a weak sense of place. When people are attached to their forebears, they want to remain close to where they lived, continue their traditions, tend their graves, embody their hopes" (Tall 1996 : 112). An understanding of history is important in understanding redevelopment efforts going on in Newtown now and concerns people have about gentrification. Residents are afraid that redevelopment will change the character of the area, erasing the commun ity's roots. This next section will focus on how Newtown fits into the greater framework of Sarasota and how Orange Blossom CG fits within Newtown and Newtown's revitalization efforts.
! "" Community Gardens and Revitalization: Situating Orange Blossom CG wit hin Newtown's Redevelopment In 1969, the Florida State Legislature enacted a statute (Part II, Chapter 165) that enabled local governments to establish a Community Redevelopment Agency. The goal of the legislature was to stimulate downtown and neighborhood revitalization through creating incentives for private investors to participate in the redevelopment of targeted areas. According to the Newtown Community Redevelopment Area Plan the primary goals of this redevelopment legislation were : 1. To address the ph ysical, social and economic problems associated with slum and blighted areas; 2. To encourage local units of government to improve the physical environment (i.e. buildings, streets, utilities, parks, etc.) by means of rehabilitation, conservation, or clearanc e/redevelopment; 3. To convey to local community redevelopment agencies the powers of eminent domain, expenditure of public funds, and all other general police powers as a means by which slums and blighted areas can be improved; 4. To enhance the tax base in the redevelopment areas by encouraging private reinvestment channeling of tax increment revenues into public improvements within the designated areas; and 5. To eliminate substandard housing conditions and to provide adequate amounts of housing in good condition to residents of low and moderate income, particularly to the elderly. (Newtown CRA Plan: 6) To qualify as a Community Redevelopment Area (CRA), the region must be a "blighted area". According to the Florida Statute, a blighted area is "an area in which there are a substantial number of deteriorated or deteriorating structures, in which conditions, as indicated by government maintained statistics or other studies, are leading to economic distress or endanger life or property" (Newtown CRA Plan: 6). Additi onally the area must fulfill at least two out of a list of 14 factors. Newtown satisfies three of these factors.
! "# First, Newtown has an "incidence of crime in an area higher than in the remainder of the county or municipality" (Newtown CRA Plan: 7). In 2005, citywide there were 2,346 incidents of crime. Of those, 653 occurred in Newtown, meaning that 28% of the crime in the city of Sar asota in 2005 occurred in Newtown. To put this in perspective, according to the 2000 Census, the population of Newtown was 7,272, versus a total population of 52,715 for the city of Sarasota. This means that Newtown comprises 13.8% of the population but 28 % of reported crimes (Newtown CRA Plan: 10). Newtown satisfies a second factor by having a "greater number of violations of the Florida Building Code in the area than the number of violations recorded in the remainder of the county or municipality" (Newto wn CRA Plan: 7). From October of 2003 to August of 2005, Newtown had 22.6% of total building code violations in the city of Sarasota (Newtown CRA Plan: 10). The final criteria they fulfill by occupying some "governmentally owned property with adverse envir onmental conditions caused by a public or private entity" ( Newtown CRA Plan: 7). In 2004, the city of Sarasota designated two properties in Newtown as "brownfield sites," one is a privately owned property on Lemon Avenue, and another located at 2046 Dr. Ma rtin Luther King, Jr. Way. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a brownfield site "means real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutan t, or contaminant" (Environmental Protection Agency 2009 ). By fulfilling these three factors in addition to fitting the definition of a blighted area, Newtown has been designated as a CRA. This designation has led the state to provide the city of Sarasota with funds to promote redevelopment in the area. The funds
! #% for Newtown's redevelopment come from federal grants (such as the Community Development Block Grant), general funds from the city, and earmarked tax money. The CRA designation lasts for 40 years, b ut is attached to Sarasota's downtown CRA designation. This means that when the CRA designation for the downtown area expires in 2016, the funds for Newtown will substantially decrease even though Newtown's CRA designation doesn't expire until 2046. The CR A plan for Newtown focuses broadly on two major initiatives: "1) creating commercial/office business activities that attract a new and broader demographic consumer base to the Dr. MLK Jr. Way corridor; and 2) Increasing the quality of life and wealth of th e average Newtown resident" (Newtown CRA Plan: 45). These are admirable goals, ultimately with the health and vitality of the Newtown community at heart. The problem with this plan is that it fits snugly within a neoliberal market driven model, a model tha t ultimately leads to a concern of gentrification. Most of the goals for the plan center around broadening the tax base within the area with the assumption that by providing incentives for private investment, property taxes will go up, adding more money to the CRA's fund to be re invested in the area. The strength of the Newtown's CRA Plan lies in the role that Newtown residents played in the plan's development. According to the Newtown CRA Plan, a 93 page document, "the goals for the Comprehensive Newtown Redevelopment Plan were established through a series of community meetings held with interested Newtown residents and representatives of organizations involved in the community" (Newtown CRA Plan: 34). Public meetings were held at the Newtown Community Ce nter on three occasions: October 2nd and 16th, 2001; and January 24, 2002. In addition to the public
! #$ workshops, a series of focus group meetings were held with several existing community organizations, including the African American Chamber of Commerce, Sa rasota Housing Authority, Greater Newtown Community Redevelopment Corporation, and Booker High School students. Public input was also garnered through interviews with individual members of the community, including Newtown community and business leaders, pr ivate sector lenders and developers, land use planners, architects, attorneys, non profit housing developers and providers, human service providers, city officials, and housing officials/developers (Newtown CRA Plan: 34). These meetings took place before I began conducting research so I cannot corroborate the level of public input that was gathered, except through conversations I had with Barbara Langston, an active member of the Newtown community who is involved in various Newtown redevelopment projects. I got the sense that public input was taken very seriously during the planning process. When I asked Barbara about the plan she said: We did the com prehensive plan and when I say we' I mean the citizens of this community we did all the redevelopment plans here. And the way we have been doing things they're not quite going that way right now with this new person we got up there in the office was that everything did come out to the community, and the decisions were made uniformly by the community and adopted and then carried back and carried out. It is clear that Barbara feels community ownership over the plan, even though she mentions that recently there have been issues with the person currently in charge of the Newtown redevelopment office. Barbara sees it as the community's job to not only participate in planning for redevelopment, but also to make sure that the plan is followed. This sentiment was clear when I asked her whether she was concerned about gentrification. She told me:
! #& No, I'm not [worried a bout gentrification] because I'm a part of the organization that's gonna make sure we don't get gentrification in Newtown. That's why I say, it all has to do with you as a community organizing yourself and being a part of the redevelopment of your communit y We have our eyes open, and that's what it takes, you really being on top of [it]. 'Cause yeah, it is being tried, but they're not gonna be successful. Gentrification inevitably comes up in a discussion of redevelopment and neighborhood revitalizat ion. The CRA Plan explicitly says that throughout the process of gathering public input from the Newtown community: There have been comments made from both sides of this issue [of gentrification]. To both it is important to attract higher income people wi th more discretionary income into the neighborhood, and provide policies to assist existing residents to stay and thrive. One goal should be to avoid involuntary displacement. This will require appropriate policies to assist existing residents with housing during the transition if residential complexes are targeted for redevelopment (Newtown CRA Plan: 56). Before I discuss the ways that Newtown is hoping to prevent the negative effects of gentrification, I want to define gentrification and examine its posi tive and negative aspects. Gentrification If gentrification were a movie character, he would be both villain and knight in shining armor, welcome by some and feared and loathed by some others, and even dreaded and welcomed at t he same time by the same people" (Freeman 2006: 60). The term gentrification' was first coined by British sociologist Ruth Glass in 1964. She explained the process: One by one, many of the working class quarters of London have been invaded by the middle classes upper and lower. Shabby, modest mews and cottages two rooms up and two down have been taken over, when their leases have expired, and have become elegant, expensive residences. Larger Victorian houses, downgraded in an earlier or recent period which were used as lodging ho uses or were otherwise in multiple occupation have been upgraded once again. Nowadays, many of these
! #' houses are being subdivided into costly flats or 'houselets' (in terms of new real estate jargon). The current social status and value of such dwellings ar e frequently in inverse to their status and in any case enormously inflated by comparison with previous levels of in their neighborhoods. Once this process of 'gentrification' starts in a district, it goes on rapidly until all or most of the original worki ng class occupiers are displaced and the social character of the district is changed (Ruth Glass in Lees et al. 2008: 4). Since the term was first coined, however, many alternate definitions have been introduced to keep up with gentrification's ever evol ving process. Terms like studentification' (coined by Darren Smith: 2002), tourism gentrification' (used by Gotham: 2005), rural gentrification', new build gentrification', super gentrification', among others have been introduced to capture the variet y of forms gentrification can take on (Lees et al. 2008:130 1). For the discussion of Newtown, the idea of new build gentrification is very important. New build gentrification is defined as new building on reclaimed land, rather than restoring existing bu ildings (2008: 138). Newtown's CRA plan includes plans to provide incentives for both the restoration of old buildings and the construction of new buildings. Scholars have argued both for and against the characterization of new build gentrification. Many s cholars argue new build gentrification does fall under the category of gentrification be cause: 1) it causes indirect and/or sociocultural displacement; 2) new residents are from the middle classes; 3) a gentrified aesthetic is produced; and 4) capital is r einvested in disinvested areas (2008: 140). Newtown's CRA plan defines gentrification as a "term used to describe how neighborhoods change when those with higher incomes replace low to moderate income residents. Such changes may lead to the dissolution of neighborhoods when long term residents are forced to move due to rising rents and taxes" (Newtown CRA Plan: 55 56).
! #( This definition is important because it highlights the most important distinction of gentrification to native residents: the threat of di splacement. Newtown's redevelopment plan centers around using both restoration of existing buildings and new construction to revitalize the area, but both of these approaches threaten to displace local residents. In his book, There Goes the 'Hood: Views o f Gentrification from the Ground Up social scientist Lance Freeman presents a multifaceted look at gentrification (2006). Through his work in Clinton Hill and Harlem, Freeman found that although "gentrification can bring neighborhood improvements that long term residents are appreciative o f a great deal of cynicism pervades thoughts about why these improvements are occurring; the specter of displacement hangs in the air, and the gentry are likely to be both an asset (but only in limited ways) and a drawback to indigenous residents" (2 006: 157). Freeman's work is important because he used an ethnographic approach. Through interviews he gathered the various views indigenous residents have of gentrification. Freeman stresses that it is important to acknowledge the positive elements of gen trification that are experienced by neighborhood residents. The main point Freeman makes is that with gentrification comes improved amenities. It is true that in many cases the process of gentrification brings greatly needed amenities to under served areas For example, many low income areas are considered to be food deserts (places where affordable and nutrient rich food is not readily available); gentrification has been found to bring grocery stores to areas that were previously food deserts (Freeman 200 6: 63; Whelan 2002). Additionally, as more wealth enters an area, improved public services usually come with it. No one would argue that people living in blighted areas and under poor living conditions would not want their neighborhood to improve. The prob lem with
! #) gentrification is the way that it brings about improvement at the expense of the original residents. The questions are: why weren't these amenities there before, and why do they only come with the displacement of the original population? Why do c hanges only happen for the benefit of newcomers? Gentrification is in many cases associated with race, with residents of previously black neighborhoods being pushed out by privileged white people. A feeling of resentment is justified when a population that had to put up with poor living conditions is pushed out of their homes just as conditions are starting to improve. A common definition of displacement is presented by Grier and Grier (1978): When any household is forced to move from its residence by condi tions which affect the dwelling or its immediate surroundings, and: 1. Are beyond the household's reasonable ability to control or prevent; 2. Occur despite the household's having met all previously imposed conditions of occupancy; and 3. Make continued oc cupancy by that household impossible, hazardous, or unaffordable (Grier and Grier in Freeman 2006: 163). Displacement can also take on a broader definition, encompassing the ability for future generations to live in the same area where they grew up (2006 : 163). The idea of losing the character of a previously existing community collective is wrapped up in displacement. A key finding of Freeman's research is that during the process of gentrification, the influx of a different social class creates a clas h between social norms. Norms are usually generated by a neighborhood collectively, and established over time as individuals act in tandem. Gentrifying populations from a different area, however, bring with them competing norms (2006: 15). This concept ret urns to the idea of competing social visions, in which people are competing to shape the dominant narrative. For
! #* example, in the public housing adjacent to Orange Blossom CG, residents like to play loud music both from their houses and from parked cars wit h custom built sound systems. Here the connection between the social production of space and the social construction of space is clear. With an influx of a new population with a different set of norms, these practices may be viewed as inappropriate, theref ore changing the nature of the space. This creates a kind of culture war, where the original residents and new residents compete for control over social space, usually at the expense of the original residents, because as the heralds of 'revitalization' new residents hold more social capital in the eyes of both the private sector and local government authorities. There may be positive outcomes of gentrification within an area. The problem is that even if those positive outcomes are felt by previously establ ished residents, they often do not make up for the social losses felt by the pre existing community. Neighborhoods will always be in the process of changing, and some residents will always be offended by change. The important point to take from this discus sion of gentrification is that systematic change, such as that of redevelopment, needs to take into the account the needs and desires of original residents. Redevelopment should have the needs of the existing residents at heart and take measures to make su re that changes are made for the benefit of pre existing residents as well as new residents. A View of the Future: The Role Community Gardens Can Play in Newtown's Redevelopment Urban gardens can act as gentrifying forces. In "Political Ecologies of Ge ntrification," political ecologist Noah Quastel discusses the ways in which the rhetoric
! #+ of sustainability has in many ways been co opted by land developers and the privileged. He points to "green consumption as a new form of class distinction" (2009: 705) He provides an example in which a real estate developer in Vancouver, Canada constructed community gardens on some of their land. Not only are community gardens a low cost way for developers to hold land, but some developers have discovered that they are marketable. He paints an image of yuppies flocking to "green cities," displacing the poor so they can bike to work and grow their own food in urban gardens. In some cases the environmental movement has been used to promote green consumerism to the advanta ge of big business and developers. Additionally, as it was in the case of Rosemary CG, gardens can promote revitalization and unintentionally start the process of gentrification. But there is also potential for community gardens to help their communities r esist gentrification. Many of the gardeners at Orange Blossom CG are familiar with the term gentrification and some have even seen it in action. John Grimes relayed this story to me: I was in construction up north, and we had a num ber of areas where we went in I didn't run it, you know I had a hardwood flooring com pany, and I just worked there b ut the city would give the place for a buck, and we had to go in there, in these row houses for instance where they changed that whole neighborhood, and the Af rican Americans primarily who lived there couldn't afford to live there anymore. And it wasn't really that bad of a neighborhood, but they ended up getting pushed into a worse area, you know, where there was a lot more drug dealing and the usual stuff tha t goes on with crummy neighborhoods. So, I had to rethink that whole thing like that, I don't think this is such a great idea, these aren't helping. I mean, people living there for a buck, it helped them, but it didn't help the original people who were there. So I don't blame them. I don't know a lot about the Newtown revitalization, I don't know what they are exactly going to do I know there was a complaint in the paper, I read about they were doing some work up here and they weren't hiring local people, [they were hiring] people from Georgia, you know its crazy. That's the part that drives me nuts, you know, if its gonna be in the community hire the local people, they need jobs here. But the low bid gets it.
! #" Community gardens and communi ty gardeners can act as allies to the community outside of their boundary. By participating in community gardens, gardeners represents themselves as community minded people. By allowing governments to frame the narrative of development projects, the inter ests of citizens are pitted against each other when they don't have to be. In their article, Community Gardens and Politics of Scale in New York City, Christopher Smith and Hilda Kurtz explain the way in which community gardens have been pitted against p ublic housing projects (2003). They discuss the politics surrounding the proposed auctioning of 114 community gardens under Mayor Rudolf Giuliani's administration and the grassroots activism that led to its cancellation. According to Smith and Kurtz, "poli tics of scale refers to the ways in which social actors draw on relationships at different geographical scales to press for advantage in a given political situation" (2003: 199). In response to the threat of the auctioning of community garden land, g ardeners formed coalitions and increasing networks of coalitions, ultimately creating a citywide coalition. By framing the community gardens as spaces that were vital to the urban community as a whole and valuable in their own right, they were able to refr ame the narrative. Instead of seeing the issue as public housing versus community gardens, activists presented the question: why can we not have both? By broadening the scope of the community gardening struggle, advocates were able to garner the support of organizations that were not directly related to gardening and broaden their base of support. In this way, community garden advocates used politics of scale, framing the issue on multiple levels which garnered the struggle increased community support and ultimately led to the cancellation of the auction.
! ## As mentioned earlier, Rosemary CG was put in this position. It was displaced by an affordable housing project that has since been cancelled. Celia Arroyo told me: We hated to leave [Rosemary], we didn't l ike it at all, I mean no one liked it, you know, but I looked at it from a different perspective, you know, they were changing the place because the city council or the government was giving these developers a grant, and they were supposed to build afforda ble housing. And to me, in quotes, affordable housing is a myth, because what they do in order to get their money and their grant money they make a number of apartments 50, 60, 80, whatever, and they just give 5%, to you know low income, its not that low i ncome when they have to pay for the apartment I feel that that wasn't right. That wasn't right. And then the place where the Rosemary garden [was], it was in the center, the core of all those tall buildings they have there, all that cement spread out you know, along the bay, and I thought that was really a mistake. Not to have that patch of green life, plant life, in the middle of it, near it, you know. And for people that would pass by and look at it, look at the flowers, look at this, look at that. And the air was a different air, a different environment. It's like a little garden in the middle of cement, you know. So, I didn't like it. Celia questions the City of Sarasota's motives for wanting to build affordable housing on the lot Rosemary occ upied, but the construction of truly affordable housing is very important to combating displacement through the process of Newtown's redevelopment. Community gardens should not have to compete with public housing for space because both are valuable. Commun ity gardens can work with public housing projects. Because community gardens can be flexible in their design (container gardening, rooftop gardens, etc), future community gardens could be incorporated into public housing projects as well as existing facili ties (schools, parks, community centers, etc.) (Twiss et al. 2003: 1437). Barbara Powell Harris brings up a good question: "why is there no garden at Janie's Garden [public housing complex]?" Rosemary CG helped to improve the Rosemary District area, seein g its reputation for drugs and crime slowly evaporate, but then ironically made the area so valuable that the garden was pushed out. Rosemary CG is a perfect example of how community
! $%% gardens can beautify an area, build a sense of community among neighbors, and help to abate criminal activity in an area. Gardens have been found to prevent littering and illegal dumping, and rescue vacant land from urban blight (Schukoske 2000: 357). Community gardens have also been shown to act as "defensible space" for neigh borhood communities, reducing criminal activity in the area (2000: 356). All of these positive aspects that have been connected to community gardens achieve goals that are a part of the Newtown CRA Plan. The plan stresses that residents repeatedly expresse d a desire for a "no or zero tolerance" policy on crime (Newtown CRA Plan: 54). Orange Blossom CG and new community garden projects can help achieve a goal of crime and blight reduction. According to Schukoske, "legislators should realize that community ga rdening is consistent with social policies such as the promotion of health and welfare, environmental protection, economic development, education, youth employment, and tourism," and as such community gardens should receive support from local governments ( Schukoske 2000: 372). Community gardens build social capital, "features of social organization such as networks, norms, and trust that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit" (Sokolovsky 2010: 249). As explained in chapter three, Orang e Blossom CG builds social capital and community among the gardeners. Community gardens can be used to cultivate "collective efficacy," a term that refers to a citizen's belief that a collective can achieve a social outcome (2010: 249). But for gardens to help the greater community to achieve collective goals, the garden first needs the support of the local neighborhood. While most gardens are started by people that live in the community directly surrounding the garden, naturally garnering the investment an d support of the
! $%$ neighborhood, Orange Blossom CG as a product of the displacement of Rosemary CG has to work to get the support of the Orange Avenue neighborhood. To make positive change in the neighborhood and Newtown as a whole, Orange Blossom CG needs t he neighborhood to feel invested in the garden. Orange Blossom CG has the potential to prompt community minded redevelopment. Urban planners like Paul Davidoff have promoted the idea of advocacy and pluralism in urban planning (Davidoff 2007). Davidoff acknowledges that within society there are various groups with different interest. Within the existing system of power, the weal thy have to power to assert their interests while the poor are left without representation in urban planning projects. The voice of low income communities needs to be heard. Residents need to be included in the social production of city space. Community g ardens have been shown to address many of the issues residents of Newtown have raised. In this way gardeners and residents can work together for mutual benefit. Orange Blossom can further broaden their support network while helping residents of Newtown to achieve a revitalized community.
! $%& Chapter 5 Cultivating Community Flowers at Orange Blossom CG. Photo by author. What is no good for the hive is no good for the bee" Marcus Aurelius, Meditations While the presence of a fence around Orange Blossom CG Community garden places a physical barrier around the garden and the surrounding community, it presents a challenge, a call for creative ways to keep the surrounding community feeling welcome and involved in the garden. This often involves makin g selective connections with local groups geared towards neighborhood revitalization. In this final chapter, I will survey the projects Orange Blossom CG already has, as well as projects they are planning to further reach out to the Newtown community. In J anuary of 2010, I attended a Community Health Action Team (CHAT) meeting. CHAT provides a forum where community organizers and health professionals
! $%' can meet to talk about upcoming health focused events taking place in Newtown and continually create a new v ision for health in the Newtown area. Attending this meeting was a real turning point in my research, as it was the first situation where I directly witnessed residents of Newtown discussing the importance of Orange Blossom CG to their community. It also opened my eyes to the real issues residents of Newtown are concerned with. One of the most poignant moments of the meeting took place when one women quoted a statistic that 17% of 9th graders in the area had contemplated suicide in the last 30 days. This statistic prompted discussion amongst the group about the importance of mental health along with physical health and the need to get into Newtown's schools to make a difference. The conversation moved to the importance of providing children with healthy meals and learning spaces outside of the traditional classroom setting. The group discussed the need to get gardening programs in the schools so that kids could learn about healthy eating in a fun and interactive way while learning a life skill. Lookin g through the meeting notes from this past year on the Newtown CHAT website, it is clear that members of CHAT see the garden as a great asset to the community, one that should be both utilized and supported. Their notes from December 2009 say: [The] group liked the idea of using the community garden as the center point of future action. This includes helping make this a gathering place for kids. Several ideas include using CHAT funds to help sponsor some of these gardens with the extra produce given out at community walks and through [Second Chance Last Opportunity]. Especially, helping by sponsoring kids to have a garden, and helping with the raised garden project for residents at J.H. Floyd Nursing Home (Community Health Action Team 2008 ).
! $%( Since the December meeting they have put some of these plans in action. They have been using Orange Blossom CG as a meeting place for monthly community walks, a project intended to help community members start and maintain a healthy exercising routine. Additionall y, they are looking into grant opportunities to improve the garden's handicap accessibility. CHAT acts as an important networking point for the garden. Barbara Powell Harris and Gail Harvey's relationship with the group is a mutually beneficial one. Bar bara and Gail are able to secure funding for the community programs they want to bring to life, and CHAT is able to get closer to their goals of building a healthier and stronger community in Newtown. Under the "Healthy Food" section of their brochure, C HAT says: The Newtown CHAT is exploring ways to bring more healthy vegetables and fruits into the community. Working with local master gardeners and the County Extension office, they hope to improve access to fresh foods which are grown in the community by local farmers. They are also examining ways to instill the importance of fresh foods in the diet of our community's youth. This includes supporting programming which teaches healthy food preparation and teaching youth garden ing skills. (Community Health Action Team 2008) This quote, as well as my experiences at CHAT's meeting, displays the important role gardens like Orange Blossom CG can play in community health projects, especially in regards to youth. A strong bond has fo rmed between Orange Blossom CG and CHAT. Barbara and Gail's involvement with CHAT is only one example of the way that their involvement with community oriented organizations outside of the garden has helped to link Orange Blossom CG to a larger network tha t is concerned with initiatives connected to community development goals.
! $%) In City Bountiful: A Century of Community Gardening in America Laura Lawson writes: Community development is a broad term that encapsulates a variety of social, economic, and physic al improvements meant to empower a neighborhood or group so it can advance itself. To be successful, community development must not only address current conditions but also commit to dispelling larger economic and social forces that inhibit a community's s elf actualization (Lawson 2005: 294). These next sections will explore how Orange Blossom CG is addressing this idea of social exclusion and space through starting projects that cultivate community. I will outline the projects that are currently functioni ng as well as projects that Barbara and Gail along with other active community members envision. Defining "Community" and "Community Gardening" Revisited Before I begin to discuss the projects going on at Orange Blossom CG, I want to further discuss the d efinition of community gardening that I mentioned in chapter three. An additional aspect of community gardening the gardeners expressed is worded beautifully by Celia, who said, "[a community garden is] a community that gets together to grow things, share them, and enjoy their company. I see the community garden as one that is a byproduct or an expansion of the community around, that is how I see it beautifully working it s part of the enclave." She goes on to say, "[Orange Blossom CG] is like a patch of garden in the middle of the city. There is nothing wrong with that, that is good. People have to grow, people have to learn, you know, this is great for the city, for the society. For the city, it's great because it's like a meeting place, and i t's a meeting place where they all do something together, or beside each other if not together."
! $%* Celia's thoughts are important because they envision the community gardening enclave as encompassing the community that exists outside of the garden's fence. W hen I asked people how they would define "community," they gave a wide variety of answers which usually involved describing examples of communities (such as church communities or bowling communities) and explaining that there are many different types of co mmunities, some that are based on communal interest and some that are spatially based. Examining the many different ways people conceive of community could easily fill this thesis, but I will focus on the connection between community and geography. Robert Kluson, an employee at the Sarasota County Extension office, told me: [Community is] usually geographical, 'cause if there isn't a sense of place I mean you can have all kinds of communities you know, internet communities now and stuff like that but if it' s not tied to a sense of place, for me it's a double edged sword because you want to have the freedom or the flexibility to not be afraid to change things and mix things up, especially to welcome diversity of people and ideas, but at the same time if there is no accountability or awareness that whatever you did had an impact on people that are a part of your community then there is no self checking system to it. So, it has to be a group of people that consider themselves stakeholders in a geogra phical area they can call them 'bio regions' or something like this, that are very much working together to achieve their needs and a quality of life. Robert's thoughts encompass two ideas that are invaluable to the goal of incorporating the local c ommunity into Orange Blossom CG. The first idea is the importance of locality to a definition of community. As Robert explains, with a sense of place there will be community investment; if people value the place they occupy, they are more likely to work to gether for the betterment of that area. The second idea Robert brings to the discussion of community is that although there must be an investment by the population
! $%+ for a community to form, there must also be a level of flexibility. To improve a community, there will be change. These definitions of "community gardening" and "community" are important to the discussion of the cultivation of the outside community into Orange Blossom CG. First, Celia's quote represents the desire of many of the gardeners to have more involvement with the outside community. Celia's comments explore the vision of community gardens as community builders outside of the garden's boundaries as well as inside. Robert and Celia both present visions that show the possibility for more comm unity building between Orange Blossom CG and the neighborhoods adjacent to them. Similarly, Master Gardener Barbara Powell Harris explained that there are many layers of community that are not necessarily mutually exclusive. While Orange Blossom CG may hav e a community of gardeners within it, Orange Blossom CG can still be part of a larger community. This description of the intersecting nature of community is encouraging when looking at the ways that Orange Blossom CG can reach out to the community and beco me a part of the neighborhood. Community organizer and gardener Barbara Langston explained that Orange Blossom CG is in the area of the city that encompasses Newtown and as such it is a part of the Newtown community. She clarifies that because the garden d oes include members who live outside of Newtown and are not connected to the pulse of the neighborhood, it is important that people listen to the local community when trying to address the needs of Newtown resident s. She explained to me, "That's why we say don't come in and try to
! $%" tell us what to do.' It's just like, you come in and you listen to what that community wants, and then you come in and you work together to help to accomplish that. The fact that a separate gardening community exists within Ora nge Blossom CG's fence does not mean that Orange Blossom CG cannot be a part of the greater Newtown community. In fact, many of the gardeners stressed the importance of integrating the garden further into Newtown, becoming an extension of Newtown's communi ty. Connections to Community Organizing In Puerto Rico there was this program and they called them huertos caseros, like, family gardens... which means, again, a community. And around that community or in that community there is a garden. But there were community organizers, that's one thing that you can bring, community organizers, they would organize the community. They would talk to them, they would visit them, they would make little activities. They would talk about this, talk about that, chatting w ith the community for a while on different topics. And somehow the outgrowth of that would be a garden for the community, and that worked so beautifully. I don't know if they still have that or they stopped it, but it was really a great thing. So, that i s one t hing that you perhaps can bring" (Celia Arroyo interview) In City Bountiful: A Century of Community Gardening in America Laura Lawson writes: A potentially more serious by product of an unarticulated faith in gardening as a cure for crisis is the tendency to propose urban gardens as treatments for largely unsolvable issues. The credibility of urban gardening as a change agent is compromised when the gardens serve as opportunistic, stopgap measures that in fact mask the real issue at stake. In times of crisis, the neighborhood garden becomes a place to go, to get active, to meet neighbors, and to make daily life more palatable. The tangible nature of the results satises political leaders and donors looking for a 'photo op,' while the larger issues that prompted the gardens in the rst place, such as environmental injustice, educational disparity, or lack of economic opportunity, are more or less i gnored Today, while a community garden may serve as a rallying point for community organizing, it cannot by itself solve the bigger problems facing urban communities it cannot single
! $%# handedly stop drug sales on the adjacent street or the lack of publ ic services to maintain vacant land (2005: 292 3). Community gardens encompass the means to many different ends, and as Lawson points out, they are often used to address the symptoms of larger issues within communities, rather than actually addressing th e root of issues such as inequality. The presence of a connection between Orange Blossom CG and community organizing within Newtown is essential to both Orange Blossom CG's longevity and successful redevelopment in Newtown. Lawson's excerpt stresses the fa ct that community gardens are a useful tool for the development of community and agents for social change, but that to achieve real lasting change, community gardens need to be used in conjunction with community organizing. When I asked Barbara Powell Harr is if she considered herself to be an activist, she laughed. She said that at one of the community gardening conferences she and Gail had attended, they realized they were the only people who were not being paid to manage their community garden, so they de cided to call themselves community activists so people would not be confused. In my opinion, Barbara and Gail are activists. They are advocates for community gardening. Along with other gardeners and community members, they fought to get a new gardening si te when Rosemary CG's land was taken away. As Master Gardeners at Orange Blossom CG and main organizers of all the community projects go ing on in the garden, they are also community organizers. All of the gardeners acknowledged the importance of Barbara an d Gail to the functioning of the garden, but their importance reaches even further. They are both the core of Orange Blossom CG and part of the fabric of the Newtown area. Their involvement in community activities outside of the garden is imperative to the garden's
! $$% community outreach. Between the two of them, they attend a variety of community focused meetings. They are involved in CHAT (Community Health Action Team), CLUCK (Citizens Lobbying for Urban Chicken Keeping), and various neighborhood associations (Amaryllis Park, Janie Poe, and Orange Avenue). Additionally, both Barbara and Gail live in the Newtown area, further integrating them into the fabric of the neighborhood community. According to Celia, "Barbara has been very nice. Because she lives in thi s community she has been very nice in attracting some of the kids, and dealing with the kids, and I think that was a blessing. And Gail she is an angel." Their involvement in neighborhood groups not only puts Orange Blossom CG in line for many commun ity grant opportunities, but keeps Gail and Barbara up to date with the daily activity of the Newtown Community. Through keeping up with the pulse of the neighborhood, they keep the garden in the loop and integrate the garden into other initiatives going o n. Current Projects Children' s programs Roughly half of the gardeners at Orange Blossom CG are within biking distance of the garden, but none of the adult gardeners live in the Orange Avenue public housing complex. As described earlier, for any number of reasons people from the public housing community right outside of Orange Blossom CG's fence have not yet integrated themselves into the garden. Since the initial construction of Orange Blossom CG, Barbara and Gail have seen the increased amount of space as an opportunity to use the garden to do more community outreach in both their direct community and to the wider Sarasota
! $$$ community. Barbara and Gail have put some of the visions they have for creating this bond into practice. The primary manifestation of B arbara and Gail's vision for more neighborhood involvement has come through interaction with children in the area by creating more children's gardening opportunities. Since its inception, the children's gardening program has been for the most part informal Through their presence in Orange Blossom CG and the Newtown community, Barbara and Gail have come to know many of the children in and around the neighborhood Orange Blossom CG occupies. They have taken a very active approach with some kids, such as MaQua n, Shontia, Tay Tay, and Susie. MaQuan is a local middle schooler who Barbara has taken under her wing. He has become a partner in Barbara, Gail, and Storm's shared plot. He has become a local celebrity amongst the gardeners. Most of the gardeners at Orange Blossom CG know MaQuan, either through a newspaper article about the garden in which he was quoted, or through meeting him. MaQuan's involvement in the garden is done on a much more personal basis, based on his friendship with Barbara. His involvement with the garden is similar to most of the other gardeners; he does not come to the garden on a set schedule, he comes when he can. Child ren have also become involved with Orange Blossom CG through sponsored plots. Shontia and Tay Tay, sisters who live in the area, obtained their own plot at Orange Blossom CG through a Barbara, Gail, Storm, and MaQuan's shared plot. Photo by author.
! $$& donation of the plot fee and deposit by a member of the Sarasota Garden Club. Susie, a local high school student, also has her own plot at Orange Blossom CG. In my own experience, whenever I have been at the garden and left the gate open, groups of kids filter in and out, asking me about the garden and if they can help. They are fascinated by the worm composter and enjoy touching and learning about the worms. They love to play with the hoses, watering people's plots and experimenting with the different settings: mist, shower, jet, and full. The kids laugh with each other an d teach each other what they in turn have been taught. I can see why other gardeners might not want to leave the gate open, especially if they look to the garden for relaxation time. When a group of five kids come and want to play with hoses, it can be a handful. Most of the kids who come into the garden are not supervised by anyone; they wander in and it is left to the gardener present to make sure the kids don't pluck produce out of people's plots or get hurt. One day while I was interviewing Steve Ha ber, a few kids who I had shown around the garden a few days before came over and started walking around the garden and using the hoses. I stopped the interview, and went over to talk to them; I explained that I was conducting an interview and couldn't sup ervise them, but that I would be at the garden the following week, and they could come and play in the garden then. The kids left and I went back to Steve and explained what I had said. That event prompted this story: [To the kids] this is play, this is fun for them. I drove over here yesterday. When I got here I turned the water on, and like five kids from this one house with an older kid watching them older being why wasn't that kid in school and these kids are just sitting out in the middle of this pa rking lot, and two of them were dressed in black and I didn't even notice them until I got out of the car, and they're like 10 feet, 20 feet, yeah, 20 feet
! $$' away and its like I didn't even notice them sitting in this parking lot playing with rocks, and I co uld just as easily have run them over. So, yeah I think the kids use any chance they have to come over. Although, its good they are listening...it's not like 'are you gonna make me' [when you ask them to do things], so that's good, at least they are listen ing. During the course of my interviews, gardeners expressed these same feelings of worry for the safety of the kids in the neighborhood. Many gardeners are concerned about the lack of parental supervision in the neighborhood and the danger for the kids t hat comes with it. The gardeners definitely see the garden as a good thing for the neighbors. The garden provides a place where kids can come and learn in a safe environment, but there is also an underlying sense that the parents of these kids should be in volved and responsible for their children's upbringing. Barbara and Gail have expressed frustration that some parents have "treated the garden like a form of daycare," opening their doors and letting them run to the garden for supervision. Volunteers such as Annie Farrell have expressed the desire that the children's programs be more formalized. Annie discussed th e process of volunteering over the school semester of 2009 as frustrating because there were not established days and times that children could be expected to be at the garden. As a volunteer, Annie ended up spending more time alone, working on maintaining the The Roy McB ean Boys and Girls Club plots. Photo by author.
! $$( children' s garden, than she did interacting with and teaching kids. The proc ess of formalizing kids' programs appears to be starting. The involvement of Orange Blossom CG (through Barbara and Gail) with the Roy McBean Boys and Girls Club has been very successful and has provided the model of a more defined project within the garde n. Annie has been involved with this partnership, helping to facilitate gardening activities on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 to 4:30. Annie has enjoyed the partnership with the Boys and Girls Club because she can fit these specific times into her sch edule and gets a lot of positive feedback from the kids. The partnership with the Boys and Girls Club has been successful because there is support on both the parts of the Boys and Girls Club and Orange Blossom CG volunteers. One of the youth leaders from the Boys and Girls Club usually brings five or six kids to the garden Barbara and Gail both acknowledge that more volunteer support is needed to branch out their children's programs, and they are hoping to continue propagating new partnerships with loca l organizations. Connecting with other organizations is important to the future sustainability of projects at Orange Blossom CG. For Barbara Langston, children are essential to the revitaliz ation of Newtown. She told me: "these generations have skipped childhood. And so, I hope with the community center, with the community garden we are all going to be in there working and doing different things together and really just trying to bring our children back to childhood." She sees Orange Blossom CG as a resource for the children in the area. "I want [Orange Blossom CG] to be an after school destination for our children [we should] just have a whole lot of interworking things getting done and educating and encouraging those kids
! $$) along with the gar dening, because that could be turned into over there into just so much more," she told me. One of the main resources Barbara Langston sees the garden providing is in the realm of health. She says: I look over and it's our kids of all ages and of all races, it's a really really serious problem we have with obesity and it's starting at infancy and coming on up and there's just no way that they are going to live to forty years old, because they are going to die of the complications of obesity. So it's importa nt that we do start teaching them and educating them with the right way in which they should be eating, because it is an epidemic in the country. So that is one thing that is very very very important to me and I hope that I will be able to get that acco mplished. But I know with that it is going to take all of us coming together and working together to do that and see that starts and extends out from our garden over there. This vision is shared by Barbara Powell Harris and Gail Harvey. They start ed the Boys and Girls Club garden and the children's garden with the hope that through gardening, kids will learn to love vegetables. According to Mary Beth Pudup an associate professor of community studies at UC Santa Cruz, "the real action is in the kit chen" where gardening programs are "committed to the notion that tasting and eating organically produced foods within hours (if not minutes and seconds) of their harvest will unleash a transformation within the adolescent students" (Pudup 2007: 1238). Harv esting is the best part of gardening and the kids from the Boys and Girls Club have gotten to take home the vegetables they grow. Barbara and Gail hope that as the children's gardening programs continue, they will be able to forge connections with a local chef to teach the kids how to prepare meals out of what they grow in the garden, taking the process of the garden to table idea full circle and teaching children about healthy eating.
! $$* Starting with the children, Barbara and Gail and other active community members hope to connect with their immediate community of Newtown, becoming a part of its fabric and incorporated into more community based projects. As Barbara Langston sees it, Orang e Blossom CG can further spread its roots and help to propagate more gardening programs in Newtown: I hope we can get more going and that's what is so great about being a part of the rebuilding of Booker High School, that everyone is at the table and when I say everyone, that means everyone, that's you and the citizens coming to the table and trying to get the programs and things there that are going to work successfully for our kids, and I hope to get that master gardener program, hopefully with Barb ara and Gail, and we all working together to get that master gardener program implemented at Booker High School. Other projects Barbara Powell Harris and Gail Harvey have also connected with some Americorp volunteers who work in cooperation with the Suncoast Center for Independent Living, providing the group with their own plot to work on collectively. This group consists of people with physical and intellectual disabilities. At the time of this study, the group came every Friday morning, and partic ipated in gardening in whatever capacity they could. Barbara and Gail have also started the Grassroots Food Pantry. The Grassroots Food Pantry was started with the idea that through planting a garden outside of the fence, the garden could really give back to the community that gave Rosemary CG a new home. The Grassroots Food Pantry will provide local residents with free organic produce and herbs. This project is still new and has yet to see a harvest, but it is ripe with opportunity to connect the garden fu rther with the local community.
! $$+ In addition to neighborhood outreach directly outside of the fence, the garden has been trying to connect with the even wider Sarasota community. The most identifiable form of outreach is the ongoing First Saturday gardening class. This monthly class has various positive components. First, it acts as an open house for Sarasotans, allowing people to come in and see the garden in a structured form. It also provides an opportunity for people interested in gardening to get togeth er to both learn and teach. Though the event is structured as a class, it often turns into a kind of forum where people can share what they have learned with one another. For example, one week John Beckner, community gardener and local botanist, was talkin g about the benefits of neem (a drought resistant tree in the mahogany family which is primarily known for its use in cosmetics), and one of the attendees, who had grown up in India, talked about its uses in India as a pest control and for oral health. The First Saturday classes are a great source of networking. Barbara and Gail have a beautiful vision of acting as a resource for the community in a variety of ways, but without more outside support they won't have the capacity to start new projects while con tinuing the success of their current programs. Partnerships with other community organizations have proved to be infinitely valuable to the garden. Through connecting with groups like the Boys and Girls Club, Suncoast Center for Independent Living, and CHA T, Barbara and Gail have forged more bonds between Orange Blossom CG and both Newtown and the greater Sarasota community. By forging these bonds, they have not only fostered a more integrated network of community within their fence, but have also brought i n more resources which in turn increase their capacity for further programs.
! $$" The Future: Nurturing Bonds with Community Organizations Though the need for more children's programs in Newtown is high on Barbara Langston's list of priorities, she stresses th e need for also incorporating the elderly into community based projects, creating a "mixture" to influence the mindset of young people. This idea fits in well with Barbara Powell Harris and Gail Harvey's vision for the garden, which includes further develo pment of infrastructure within the garden to aid in the participation of community elders and members with disabilities. This includes the construction of a concrete path through the garden that would make it more wheel chair accessible. The problem here lies in funding. Building a concrete path is a large expense, and Barbara and Gail stress the need to make sure they get a quality product. Research is needed to figure out the details of the path as well as the most appropriate grant to apply for. They additionally have plans to create a plot of raised beds that would make gardening easily accessible to people in wheelchairs or who are unable to kneel. They have collected a few trash picked bathtubs that are slated to be used for this purpose. The fr uition of these plans would allow for more interaction with organizations like J.H. Floyd, a non profit that provides physical therapy, and both assisted and independent living for elderly community residents. J.H. Floyd resides directly adjacent to Orange Blossom CG, parallel to its northern fence (See Appendix IX for a map of the organizations surrounding Orange Blossom CG) According to their website, it is J.H. Floyd's mission "To meet the health care and housing needs of the elderly residents of the co mmunity with a commitment to their physical, person and emotional needs, while providing an environment which encourages independence and feelings of self worth"
! $$# (J.H. Floyd 2006 ). This mission fits in well with the benefits of community gardening. A partn ership between J.H. Floyd and Orange Blossom CG seems natural; they are working on building the required infrastructure. Pines of Sarasota, another non profit organization nearby that serves the elderly, is also open to involvement with Orange Blossom CG. Another promising partnership could exist with Children First. Children First is a nonprofit organization that provides daycare for children up to five years old who come from low income families. According to their website, their "goal is to provide our c hildren with what all children deserve a safe place to learn, nutritious meals, and a nurturing environment with individualized attention" (Children First 2005 ). Children First is also located on Orange Avenue. These partnerships with organizations like J.H. Floyd, Pines of Sarasota, and Children First, are mutually beneficial; Orange Blossom CG can help other organizations achieve their goals while further cultivating its connection to the community around, further constructing communal place out of the garden space By connect ing with other organizations, Barbara and Gail can see the programs they envision germinate without having all of the burden fall on them to keep new programs going. In addition, increasing community connections, especially in the form of already established organizations, will allow Orange Blossom CG to garner much more support and leverage in the event that the city tries to take away their land in the future. In these ways, partnerships are essential to the longevity of Orange Bl ossom CG.
! "#$ Conclusion In this thesis I have focused on the community within Orange Blossom CG to explore issues of space and access, but what I have presented is only part of the story of contested space in Sarasota. I urge future New College students to further explore the way s in which Newtown residents perceive the redevelopment plan and experience it s effects as the plan continues to be put into action. In the words of Judith Goode: The depictions of the life experiences of the poor illuminate the ways in which many societa l structures, especially the wage labor market and many of the social service bureaucracies, unintentionally work to perpetrate structural violence against the poor. Instead of working to reform the poor, ethnographic work argues for reforming these struct ures and building on the personal and social stre ngths of poor people themselves (Goode 2010: 197). To understand the structures at work in the process of gentrification and the co optation of public space and environmental efforts, researchers must list en to the experiences of the people who are being directly affected. The plan for Newtown's redevelopment is just getting started, but is planned to continue until 2045. This provides the perfect opportunity to examine the ways in which changes prompted by Community Redevelopment Area plans are experienced by communities over a period of time. In this thesis I have argued that as a part of the urban landscape, community gardens should be understood as socially produced and constructed space. As such they m ust negotiate within the context of the neoliberal market paradigm that has come to dominate public space. Through this ethnography, I have strived to present the ways in which community gardens both fit into the power structu res reinforced by this paradig m and the ways that Orange Blossom CG can help to subvert these power structures within Sarasota by spreading its roots throughout the wider community to bring about positive
! "#" change. By forming bonds with other community organizations, Orange Blossom CG is becoming a stronger garden, both in terms of its own land security and in terms of wider political leverage for the extended community. Already, Barbara and Gail note that each new city commissioner comes to the garden to connect with the community and ra lly their own political support. As a community garden, Orange Blossom CG provides a unique opportunity for its gardeners to shape their public space, giving them a chance to develop place out of space. This is a very important opportunit y that is not always encouraged. I ndeed I have argued that as public space becomes more privatized, not only are many people not encouraged to have a voice in the production of public space, but some strata within society are even discourag ed from using public space. T he concept of having pluralism and advocacy within the urban planning process should be encouraged to spread to other redevelopment projects. Orange Blossom CG is a complex comm unity that is still growing. The garden holds powerful meaning for its garden ers. They each interpret the garden in their own way, but together t hey share a vision of community As a new garden and one that has developed under strange circumstances, Orange Blossom CG is still taking root still navigating the role it play s in area s outside of its borders. Orange Blossom CG is ripe with possibility. As Gail Harvey likes to say, "there is more growing here than just plants."
! "## Appendix I: Interviewees Digitally Recorded Interviews: Barbara Powell Harris (Master Gardener and Orange Blossom CG Organizer) Gail Harvey (Master Gardener and Orange Blossom CG Organizer) Celia Arroyo (Gardener) Otilio Arroyo (Gardener) John Beckner (Gardener) John Grimes (Gardener) John Matthews (Gardener) Barbara Langston (Gardener and Community Organizer) Steve Haber (Gardener) Roy Wyatt (Gardener) Bob Volpe (Gardener) Pauline Everett (Master Gardener) Robert Kluson (Sarasota County Extension Office employee) Informal Interviews: Sybil Christensen (Gardener) Angela Miller (Gardener) Rano Stankevskaya (Gardener) Virginia Thomas (Gardener) Joan Peters (Gardener) Lisa Merritt (Gardener) Nancy Booker (Gardener) M.L. Baldwin (Gardener) Dorie Cronin (Gardener) William Knapp (Gardener) Richard Htee (Gardener) JoAnne DeVries (Gardener) Olympia Baylou (Gardener) Suzannah Benedetti (Garde ner) Anne Farrell (Gardener and Volunteer)
! "#$ Appendix II: Sample Interview Questions How would you define "community"? How would you define "community gardening"? How did you learn about Orange Blossom Community Garden? How do you interact with the other gardeners? Do you see them outside of Orange Blossom? What kinds of gardening activities do you participate in inside and outside of the garden? How did you organize your plot? Why? What do you grow in your plot? Do you live far from the garden? Is this your first experience gardening? Are there any kinds of rules for the garden? How is the communal space used? Who is responsible for its upkeep? In what ways do you think the community outside of Orange Blossom CG interacts with Orange Blossom CG? Do you feel safe in the garden? Do you lock the gate when you are in the garden or do you leave the gate open? What do you want to see in the garden? Is there anything else you think I should know about community gardening and Orange Blossom CG? Questions specifically for gardeners that moved from Rosemary CG: Tell me about the experience of moving from Rosemary CG site to Orange Blossom CG? How do the two sites compare? Did you know most of the people at Rosemary CG?
! "#% Appendix III Aerial view of Rosemary Community Garden
! "#& Appendix IV Orange Avenue Park and Orange Blossom Community Garden.
! "#' Appendix V Proposed p lan for Orange Blossom Community Garden. This plan was developed by New College students in the Urban Agriculture Tutorial in the spring semester of 2007.
! "#( Appendix VI Orange Blossom Community Garden and Rosemary Community Garden in Sarasota, FL
! "#) Appendix VII Map of Orange Blossom Community Garden plot space. Drawn by author.
! "#* Appendix VIII Map of the Newtown Community Redevelopment Area's boundaries. This map also includes the parks in and around the area.
! "$+ Appendix IX Orange Blossom CG and the surrounding organizations in the area.
! "#" References American Community Gardening Association 2009 Starting a Community Garden. http://www.communitygarden.org/learn/starting a community garden.php accesses February 22, 2010. Bachelard, Gaston 1969 The Poetics of Space Boston: Beacon Press. Baker, L auren E. 2004 Tending Cultural Landscapes and Food Citizenship in Toronto's Community Gardens. Geographical Review 94(3): 305 325. Bentley, Amy 1998 Eating for Victory: Food Rationing and the Politics of Domesticity. Chicago: University of Illinois Press. Caldeira, Theresa 2005 Fortified Enclaves. In Theorizing the City: The New Urban Anthropology Reader Setha M. Low, ed. Pp. 83 107. Rutgers University Press. Children First 2005 About Children First http://www.childrenfirst.net/aboutUs/aboutUs.cfm accessed March 4, 2010. City of Sarasota 2008 New Beginnings for Newtown http://www.sarasota gov.com/Newtown/ accessed January 20, 2010. 2008 History of the Newtown Community. http://www.sarasotagov.com/Newtown/history.html accessed January 20, 2010. Community Health Action Team 2008 Newtown CHAT Brochure. ht tp://www.chip4health.org/chats/newtown/Newtown%20MS%2008 25 09.pdf accessed January 20, 2010. Davidoff, Paul 2007 Adv ocacy and Pluralism in P lanning. In The City Reader 4 th edition. Richard T. LeGates and Frederic Stout, eds. Pp. 400 410. New York: Routledge. Davis, Mike 1990 City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles London and New York: Verso.
! "#$ Environmental Protection Agency 2009 Brownfield and Land Revitalization. http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/overview/glossary.htm accessed February 17, 2010. Freeman, Lance 2006 There Goes the 'Hood: Views of Gentrification from the Ground Up. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Gmelch, George, Robert V. Kemper, and Walter P. Zenner (eds.) 2010 Urban Life: Readings in the Anthropology of the City 5 th edition. Waveland Press, Long Grove, Illinois. Goode, Judith 2010 How Urban Ethnography Counters Myths about the Poor In Urban Life: Readings in the Anthropology of the City George Gmelch, Robert V. Kemper, and Walter P. Zenner, eds. Pp. 185 201. Waveland Press. Gotham, K.F. 2005 Tourism gentrification: The Case of New Orleans' Vieux Carre (French Quarter). Urban Studies 42(7): 1099 1121. Harvey, David 2007 Contested Cities: Social Process and Spatial Form In The City Reader 4 th edition. Richard T. LeGates and Frederic Stout, eds. Pp. 225 232. New York: Routledge. Hurley, Andrew 2006 Narrating the Urban Waterfront: The Role of Public History in Community Revitalization. The Public Historian 28(4): 19 50. J.H. Floyd 2006 About J.H. Floyd. http://jhfloyd.org/ accessed March 4, 2010. Lawson, Laura Joanne 2005 City Bountiful: A Century of Community Gardening in America Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press. Lees, Loretta, Tom Slater, and Elvin Wyly 2008 Gentrification New York: Rout ledge. LeGates, Richard T., and Frederick Stout eds. 2007 The City Reader 4 th edition. New York: Routledge.
! "## Loukaitou Sideris, Anastasia 1993 Privitization of Public Open Space: The Los Angeles Experience. The Town Planning Review 64 (2): 139 167. Low, Setha M., ed. 2005 Theorizing the City: The New Urban Anthropology Reader New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. Low, Setha M. 2005 Spatializing Culture: The Social Production and Social Constructio n of Public Space in Costa Rica. In T heorizing the City: The New Urban Anthropology Reader Setha M. Low, ed. Pp. 83 107. Rutgers University Press. Madanipour, Ali. 2007 Social Exclusion and Space. In The City Reader Setha M. Low, ed. 3 rd Edition. Pp. 181 188. New York: Routledge. 2010 W ho's Public Space New York: Routledge. McDonogh, Gary 1993 The Geography of Emptiness. In The Cultural Meaning of Urban Space Robert Rotenberg and Gary McDonogh, eds. Pp. 3 15. Westport, Connecticut: Bergin and Garvey. Miller, Jono 2006 Rosemary Community Garden is an Asset Well Worth Preserving. Herald Tribune, December 11: 12A. Murray, Charles 1984 Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950 1980 New York: Basic Books. Newtown CRA Plan %&' http://www.sarasotagov.com/Newtown/Newtown%20CRA%20Plan%20Volu me%201.pdf accessed February 9, 2010. Peck, Jamie, and Adam Tickell 2002 Neoliberalizing Space. Antipode 34: 204 380. Pudup, Mary Beth 2008 It Takes a Garden: Cultivating Citizen Subjects in Organized Garden Projects. Geoforum 39: 1228 1240. Quastel, Noah 2009 Political Ecologies of Gentrification. Urban Geography 30(7): 694 725.
! "#( Rotenberg, Robert, and Gary McDonogh, eds. 1993 The Cultural Meaning of Urban Space. Westport, Connecticut: Bergin and Garvey. Saldivar Tanaka, Laura, and Marianne E. Krasney 2004 Culturing Community Development, Neighborhood Open Space, and Civic Agriculture: The Case of La tino Community Gardens in New York City. Agriculture and Human Values 21: 399 412. Sarasota County Extension 2007 UF/IFAS Sarasota County Extension Master Gardener Program. http://sarasota.exte nsion.ufl.edu/Hort/mastgard.shtml accessed November 10, 2009. Schmelzkopf, Karen 1995 Urban Community Gardens as Contested Space. Geographical Review 85(3): 364 381. 2002 Incommensurability, Land Use, and the Right to Space: Community Gardens in New York City. Urban Geography 23(4): 323 343. Schukoske, Jan E. 2000 Community Development Through Gardening: State and Local Policies Transforming Urban Open Space. Legislation and Public Policy 3: 351 392. Selznick, Philip 1996 In Search of Community In Rooted in the Land: Essays on Community and Place William Vitek and Wes Jackson, eds. Pp. 195 203. Yale University. Smith, Christopher M., and Hilda E. Kurtz 2003 Community Gardens and Politics of Scale in New York City. Geographical Review 93(2): 193 212. Smith, Darren 2002 Patterns and Processes of 'Studenti fication' in Leeds. Regional Review 11:17 19. Sokolovsky, Jay 2010 Civic Ecology, Urban Elders, and New York City's Community Gardening Movement In Urban Life: Readings in the Anthropology of the City George Gmelch, Robert V. Kemper, and Walter P. Zenne r, eds. Pp. 243 255. Waveland Press.
! "#) Tall, Deborah 1996 Dwelling: Making Peace With Spa ce and Place. In Rooted in the Land: Essays on Community and Place William Vitek and Wes Jackson, eds. Pp. 105 112. Yale University. Thwaites, K., E. Helleaur and I.M. Simkins 2005 Restorative Urban Open Space: Exploring the Spatial Configuration of Human Emotional Fulfillment in Urban Open Space. Landscape Research 30(4): 525 547. Twiss, Joan, with Joy Dickinson, Shirley Duma, Tanya Kleinman, Heather Paulsen, and Liz Rilveria 2003 Community Gardens: Lessons Learned From California Healthy Cities and Communities. American Journal of Public Health 93(9): 1435 1438. Vitek, William, and Wes Jackson eds. 1996 Rooted in the Land: Essays on Community and Place Yale University. Worden, Eva, Adrian Hunsberger, and John McLaughlin 2002 Starting a Community Garden. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/EP/EP12400.pdf accessed February 2 2, 2010. Whelan, Amanda, Neil Wrigley, Daniel Warm, and Elizabeth Cannings 2002 Life in a 'Food Desert'. Urban Studies 39(11): 2083 2100.