The Geography of Motivation and Participation Among Community Gardeners in Austin, Texas
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Individual community gardeners are motivated to participate in organized gardening projects for a variety of reasons. Understanding the motivations of community gardeners allows for spatial comparisons to be made between gardeners of a similar mindset. Mapping the spatial footprint of participation, or the participation shed, for community gardens allows their contributions to the local food system to be visualized and compared. Using semi structured interviews and surveys of 63 community gardeners at five community gardens in Austin, Texas, this study identifies eight motivations for participation in community gardens. Gardens and motivational groups are then compared on the basis of demographic and spatial variables, and cartographic visualizations of gardener participation are created for each garden. Results indicate that motivations related to social interaction, access to garden resources and food quality are most important, while those related to cultural identity, economics and environmental concern are least important. Two classes of garden emerge from the spatial analysis, with regional and neighborhood gardens having markedly different participation sheds.