Urban farming

Researchers from Södertörn University blogs about urban farming and digital practices.

Our definition of urban farming

Compared to other kinds of gardening activities in the urban setting, urban farmers in our definition do so from a political, value-based point of departure; as a questioning of contemporary food production and urban land use. In this project, there are two kinds of urban farming in focus: self-administrative farming projects with permits (known as “food parks”), and guerilla gardening, which lack permission of local authorities/land owners. One assumption in the project is that there are significant local differences in meaning-making between the cities we will include in our studies, the role of growing food is very different depending on history of self-sufficiency, availability of food and what kinds of practices surrounding food that is considered privileged.

Salad with an agenda?

Salad with an agenda?

A characteristic of this type of sustainability commitment is that people come together and organize themselves via social media sites such as Facebook groups and blog sites. Our assumption is that the digital media has become a prerequisite for the type of participatory culture that is linked to the urban landscape, which phenomena such as guerilla gardening and urban farming represent. Urban farming initiatives are an early example of how grass-root movements, political changes and social sustainability are likely to unfold in the years to come, which makes it a representative case for investigation. In our examination of urban farmers, we have focused on groups that have a political agenda. This means that we disregard a number of initiatives that comprise more or less informal gardening in urban environments that do not have a pronounced political perspective, such as those of kindergartens, playgrounds, and allotments.

Urban farming takes place at Nordiska trädgårdar

One of the first tasks in our project is to learn more about the activists in the urban gardening communities, and this year several groups exhibited their work at the Nordic Gardens Fair that took place in Älvsjö, Stockholm. We were particularly interested in the way that the communities present themselves and which ideas they would put in front to show their activities.

These were some of our impressions:

IMG_3427 IMG_3430 IMG_3437 IMG_3439 IMG_3452 IMG_3459 IMG_3467