It is well known that urban allotment gardens provide important ecosystem services. Their potential to act as sources of local resilience during times of crisis is less appreciated, despite the role they have played as areas of food security during times of crisis in history.
Their ability to provide such relief, however, requires that the skills and knowledge needed for effective gardening can be transmitted over time and across social groups. In short, some portion of urban society must remember how to grow food.
This chapter proposes that collectively managed gardens function as ‘pockets’ of social-ecological memory in urban landscapes by storing the knowledge and experience required to grow food. Allotment gardeners operate as ‘communities of practice’ with ecosystem stewardship reflecting long-term, dynamic interactions between community members and gardening sites. Social-ecological memories about food production and past crises are retained and transmitted through habits, traditions, informal institutions, artifacts and the physical structure of the gardens themselves. Allotment gardens thus serve as incubators of social-ecological knowledge with experiences that can be accessed and transferred to other land uses in times of crisis, contributing to urban resilience.
Conversely, failure to protect these pockets of social-ecological memory could result in a collective ‘forgetting’ of important social-ecological knowledge and reduce social-ecological resilience.
Research news | 2018-07-10
The World in 2050 initiative launches new report outlining synergies and benefits that render the goals achievable
Educational news | 2018-07-02
LEAP our leadership programme designed for changemakers that want to lead social-ecological transformations to sustainability. Application deadline is 5 August 2018.
Research news | 2018-06-27
Overfishing, fractured international relationships and political conflicts loom as fish migrate more unpredictably because of climate change. Here is how to deal with it
Research news | 2018-06-26
Profit-maximizing approaches are most likely to produce outcomes that harm people or the environment. But it depends on the circumstances whether a sustainable or a safe approach is most suitable, new study argues
General news | 2018-06-20
Will lead a redesign of the organisational structure at the centre
Research news | 2018-06-20
New book chapter looks into the economic, cultural and ecological reasons why some people leave the fisheries and aquaculture sector, and what could be done to reverse the trend