The rhetoric and reality of allotment gardens and sustainable development, the case of allotment gardens in Winnipeg, Manitoba

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Roy, Marlen A.
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Urban agriculture is being promoted as a sustainable urban activity with the potential to alleviate poverty while enhancing environmental health and, consequently, contributing to the societal goal of sustainable development. Allotment gardening, a system of urban agriculture devised in the 1800s in England whereby people rent small plots of land to grow food, has been practiced in Canadian cities also. While it was originally devised as a poverty alleviation strategy, allotment gardening is now largely considered a recreational activity and its links to sustainable development are not clear. This thesis investigates how allotment gardens in Winnipeg, Manitoba, a city with both high levels of urban poverty and a sustainable development strategy, contribute to a more sustainable urban community. To this end, allotment gardens, gardeners and allotment plot land use are described. Then, five research questions, framed by the theme conceptual model of sustainable development, are used to assess the contributionof Winnipeg's allotments to sustainable development. Data were collected on allotment gardeners, plot cultivation techniques and selected indicators of sustainable development using a questionnaire survey instrument administered by face-to-face interviews with selected gardeners. (Abstract hortened by UMI.)