Title

Cultivating Self-Reliance: Participation in Urban Agriculture as Civil Leisure

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-7-2020

Description

Using ethnographic methods, the present study explored volunteer participation in an urban farm in Austin, Texas, USA. Researchers spent three years documenting the activities of participants via participant observation and interviewing. Guided by the concept of civil leisure, researchers analyzed voluntary participation in the farm as a form of leisure practice that was oriented towards civic issues. Analysis indicated that participation was understood as a means of (1) fostering self-reliance through peer education, (2) establishing and strengthening place-based social networks, and (3) addressing civic concerns related to infrastructure and food security. These findings are interpreted within the context of Bauman's concepts of liquid modernity (2000. Liquid Modernity. Malden, MA: Polity Press) and liquid fear (2006. Liquid Fear. Malden, MA: Polity Press). On the basis of the findings and interpretations, recommendations are made to suggest ways in which municipalities might cultivate residents’ civic impulses, especially as relates to urban agriculture.

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