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Hired gardens and the question of transgression: lawns, food gardens and the business of ‘alternative’ food practice

Hired gardens and the question of transgression: lawns, food gardens and the business of... As increased awareness of the industrial-capitalist food system draws consumers into ‘alternative’ food networks, a variety of approaches are being taken to access fresh, local foods. A growing trend within alternative food practice is the increasing number of people who are ripping out their lawns and creating sites of food production in neighborhood spaces. This challenge to the iconic lawn landscape has been viewed by some as both an alternative to the conventional marketplace and an act of transgression against neighborhood norms. This article explores a new strategy that has been used to access food, what I have termed the ‘hired garden’, to examine the contradictory implications of yard food production done for hire. Using the space of the yard as a vehicle for exploring transgression and resistance, this article considers the claim that accessing food through ‘alternative’ means is necessarily transgressive. I argue that such practices are not inherently transgressive or resistant and instead invite scholars to ask critical questions about transgression, resistance and landscapes of power. At the same time, this article suggests that the recent establishment of businesses that can be hired to install, maintain and harvest vegetables from their clients’ yards is a fundamental cultural contradiction, whereby consumers have competing desires to have easy access to fresh, local foods and to produce their own food. Finally, this analytical look at the hired garden addresses: who are the recipients of such services, and who has access to this type of food, drawing on critiques of the ‘alternative food movement,’ which characterize it as a white, middle-class phenomenon. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Cultural Geographies SAGE

Hired gardens and the question of transgression: lawns, food gardens and the business of ‘alternative’ food practice

Cultural Geographies , Volume 19 (4): 22 – Oct 1, 2012

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References (72)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© The Author(s) 2012
ISSN
1474-4740
eISSN
1477-0881
DOI
10.1177/1474474012451543
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

As increased awareness of the industrial-capitalist food system draws consumers into ‘alternative’ food networks, a variety of approaches are being taken to access fresh, local foods. A growing trend within alternative food practice is the increasing number of people who are ripping out their lawns and creating sites of food production in neighborhood spaces. This challenge to the iconic lawn landscape has been viewed by some as both an alternative to the conventional marketplace and an act of transgression against neighborhood norms. This article explores a new strategy that has been used to access food, what I have termed the ‘hired garden’, to examine the contradictory implications of yard food production done for hire. Using the space of the yard as a vehicle for exploring transgression and resistance, this article considers the claim that accessing food through ‘alternative’ means is necessarily transgressive. I argue that such practices are not inherently transgressive or resistant and instead invite scholars to ask critical questions about transgression, resistance and landscapes of power. At the same time, this article suggests that the recent establishment of businesses that can be hired to install, maintain and harvest vegetables from their clients’ yards is a fundamental cultural contradiction, whereby consumers have competing desires to have easy access to fresh, local foods and to produce their own food. Finally, this analytical look at the hired garden addresses: who are the recipients of such services, and who has access to this type of food, drawing on critiques of the ‘alternative food movement,’ which characterize it as a white, middle-class phenomenon.

Journal

Cultural GeographiesSAGE

Published: Oct 1, 2012

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