Action for sustainability through community gardening: the role of adult learning
As community gardens (CGs) become increasingly popular, it is timely to investigate whether they further sustainability goals. Underpinning my research were questions like why people get involved in CGs, what benefits they derive, what they learn from gardening, and how governance facilitates that learning. Through interviews with gardeners, my data show that key benefits of gardening included building community, environmental protection, improved health, and resisting the industrialization of food. CG membership also facilitated learning in all three domains of Transformative Learning: communicative, instrumental, and transformation. Learning outcomes included gardening skills, improved insight into self and others, and increased prevalence of pro-environmental perspectives. The primary source of learning was interaction with other gardeners. CG involvement may contribute to sustainability by providing an environment which allows people to connect with nature, learn from others (if governance, garden organization, and social capital are strong), and choose more pro-environmental behaviours.