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First major critical evaluation of guerrilla gardening in the UK
Responds to increasing concerns for local food production and food security
Urban agriculture, such as guerrilla gardening, could improve many spaces - large and small - in every town or city
The book explores how unused and under-used urban spaces – from grass verges, roundabouts, green spaces – have been made more visually interesting, and more productive, by informal (and usually illegal) groups known as “guerrilla gardeners”. The book focuses on groups in the English Midlands but the work is set in a broad international context. We show, through detailed observation and interviews, the differing motivations of groups and individuals involved in trying to produce edible crops on a small scale in the ‘forgotten landscapes’ of towns and cities. Some are illegal by design, looking for the thrills – the “naughtiness” as some say - in doing this secretly; but others simply have not obtained the right permissions from land owners. Guerrilla gardening has usually been presented uncritically, a generic “good thing” – and we present a more critical and balanced evaluation of the activity. The amount of un- and used-used space is surprisingly high, although the amount of food that can be produced in this way will be relatively small. However, local involvement in food production, in beautifying the environment even for a short while, can make a lot of difference.
Michael Hardman is Lecturer in Geography at the University of Salford, and Peter J. Larkham is Professor of Planning at Birmingham City University.
Content Level »Research
Keywords »Food Production - Gardening - Guerilla Gardening - Temporary land use - Urban Agriculture - Urban Space
Preface Chapter 1. Guerrilla Urban Agriculture: Unearthing the Hidden Movement Urban Agriculture and Guerrilla Gardening Exploring the Movement Overview of the Book: Why Guerrilla Gardening? Approaching the Research: Working with Guerrillas Chapter 2. Cultivating the City Introduction Nature and Cities From Survival to Niche: Reflecting on Food Growing in the Global North Everyday UA: Allotments, Community Gardens and Emerging Spaces of Production Should UA be Encouraged? Exploring Local Food Criticisms The Roots of Informal UA Chapter 3. Unearthing the Unpermitted Movement Introduction: Informal Action in the Urban Guerrilla Gardening: The Rise of Radical Agriculture Why Choose the ‘Illegal’ Route? Reasons for Guerrilla Gardening Chapter 4. On the Ground with Guerrillas: An Ethnographical Reflection Researching Guerrilla Gardeners A First-Hand Personal Reflection: Interacting with Guerrillas on the Ground Is Guerrilla Gardening Illegal? Interacting with the Guerrillas: An Ethnographic Reflection on the Action The Stories of F Troop and the WG: Key Messages Chapter 5. Deconstructing the Key Messages: Analysing F Troop and the Women’s Group Reviewing Practice Summarising F Troop’s Actions: Unpacking the Digs Maintaining the UA Site F Troop and the Wider Guerrilla Movement Legitimisation: The Ultimate Path for F Troop? F Troop: Questioning the Group’s Future UA Ambitions The Women’s Group: Unconscious Guerrilla Gardeners? Food and the WG: Transforming Urban Greenspace for UA The WG and the Wider Guerrilla Movement Chapter 6. Who Owns this Space? Authorities and Guerrilla Gardeners Introduction: Contesting the Ownership of Space Challenging Conventional Practice: Is UA Suitable for the Two Sites? (Re)Imagining Urban Space: The Adoption of an Illegal Route Hidden Sites: Over-Bureaucracy and the Failure to Notice Change Unlawful Action under the Noses of Authority: Implications of the Illegal Route Working with Guerrillas: Constructing a Future with Authority Chapter 7. Exploring Impact: Consulting Actors Surrounding Guerrilla Gardening Sites Questioning the Impact of Guerrilla Gardening Assessing the Impact of Unregulated UA The Community and F Troop: Deconstructing the Relationship Reflecting on The WG: The Community Garden…A Place for the Community? Critically Assessing Guerrilla Practice Who Benefits from the UA? Summarising the Impact of the Guerrilla Action Concluding Remarks: The Emergence of a ‘Guerrilla Trap’ Chapter 8. Guerrilla Gardeners, Urban Agriculture, Food and the Future Reflecting on the Case Studies Future Research: Observing Guerrillas in the Wild The Wider Relevance of this Book Bibliography