Daily Audio - AKG Sustainable Living Project episode #4 - Rainwater Harvesting

Monday, 23 November 2009

Thesis abstract

Using social research methods, including questionnaire, interview, and observation, four neighbourhoods in SW Sheffield were assessed to determine what factors are most likely to promote and support home- based food-growing. 68 questionnaires and 29 interviews were analysed. Each household interviewed was assessed for growing potential by measuring land area available, land area in food cultivation, solar resource, and availability of tools.

The hypotheses that emerged was that the group of people studied who grow food do not generally do so because they are concerned about food supply or to save money. They grow food primarily because they enjoy gardening, find it therapeutic and they want the freshest produce. They would appreciate access to more land to grow on but very few are interested in an allotment due to lack of proximity and time to adequately utilise one. Those who grow the most food are likely to have a university degree and be aware of threats to food security from peak oil and climate change. The most highly valued source of advice and training across the group are family members and other gardeners. Having a high level of personal community involvement and living within a neighbourhood that is active not only in growing but also socially is a key factor in the likelihood and/or the desire to grow food. The most successful growers live near and interact with other successful growers. Those who do not grow list lack of land and time as the primary reason, but the chances of growing are higher in neighbourhoods with more community involvement regardless of other factors.

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