Community gardens: growing plants or people?
To the casual observer, community gardens may look like places where people just come to grow fruit and vegetables. Through digging beneath surface appearances, however, the research literature suggests that there is more to the creation of and participation in community gardens than that which is immediately apparent. The overall aim of this research was to explore and interpret the meaning of community gardens in terms of the sought and experienced well-being of the individuals who participate, and their associated communities. This research was undertaken in the Christchurch/Selwyn district, in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010-2011. This research utilised the technique of photo-elicitation interviews to study the meanings attributed to community gardening, in the post-earthquake environment. Five gardens were investigated. Results show that a range of meanings, and well-being outcomes are experienced through a combination of physical, educational, aesthetic appreciation, contemplative, creative and social connections within the garden and within the overall context of nature. Significantly, within the post-earthquake environment, the community gardens can offer participants the opportunity to appreciate life and what it means for them.... [Show full abstract]