Classification of community gardens in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania

Authors: Plaxedes T. Chitiyo*, Duquesne University, Donald Buckwalter , Indiana University of Pennsylvania , Kelsey Coates , Duquesne University Pittsburgh PA, Josephine Harsh , Duquesne University , Alanna Bachtlin , Duquesne University
Topics: Agricultural Geography, Land Use, Environment
Keywords: urban community gardens, classification, food system
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Urban community gardens provide a myriad of benefits to communities that range from food security, increased access to fresh produce, improved heath, environmental protection, social cohesion, and a reduction in crime rates. Community gardens are being used to transform cities such as Pittsburgh, which are reinventing themselves as sustainable cities moving away from an environmental history characterized by a dirty industrial past that still has remnants in the form of distressed vacant lots, polluted soils, and water. A descriptive study was conducted to classify community gardens in Allegheny County. Gardens were classified according to year established, goals, land history and ownership, membership, and garden size. Active gardens were identified and their extent and distribution assessed. The data was collected through online searches of municipal websites, organizations active in community garden projects, and from stakeholders within the researchers’ urban agriculture network. Ground truthing was conducted by visiting selected community gardens within the county. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) was used to generate maps showing the distribution of community gardens within the county. Because community gardens are a useful tool to evaluate a community’s food system, this study is valuable input to the city of Pittsburgh Food Action Plan which is in progress.

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