The spaces and times of community farming

Pingyang Liu, Paul Gilchrist, Becky Taylor, Neil Ravenscroft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper uses a multiple case study approach to researching people's everyday lives and experiences of six community farms and gardens in diverse settings in China and England. We argue that collective understandings of community are bound up in everyday action in particular spaces and times. Successful community farms and gardens are those that are able to provide suitable spaces and times for these actions so that their members can enjoy multiple benefit streams. These benefits are largely universal: in very different situations in both England and China, CSA members make strong connections with the land, the farmers and other members, even in cases where they rarely visit the farms and gardens. This suggests that community farming and gardening initiatives possess multi-dimensional transformational potential. Not only do they offer a buffer against industrialized and remote food systems, but they also represent therapeutic landscapes valued by those who have experienced time spent at or in connection with them. Our findings indicate that - regardless of location or cultural context - these benefits are durable, so that people who have been engaged in multiple activities at a community farm or garden continue to enjoy these benefits long after most of their engagement has ceased.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-375
Number of pages13
JournalAgriculture and Human Values
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2016

Bibliographical note

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  • Community farming
  • Everyday life
  • Therapeutic landscapes


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