School-based community gardens as third places: Enhancing sustainability through environmental education post-COVID

Authors: Lisa Law, A/ Professor James Cook University, Rachael Walshe*, James Cook University
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Urban and Regional Planning, Environmental Perception
Keywords: Community garden, third place, second place, third space, environmental education, school garden.
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 43
Presentation File: Download



Community gardens contribute to the well-being of individuals and social resilience. When used as an immersive education tool, they can act as dynamic and hybrid spaces that increase engagement with curricula (Payne, 1998), create a sense of belonging and build ‘place-based’ relationships with the environment (Cushing et al., 2017). This paper reviews some key literature and proposes a conceptual framework for re-imagining school gardens as ‘third places’ that help transform the ‘second place’ of the school. Gardens act as a bridge for traditional divides, such as between the formal structure of school and the more informal dynamic of the community garden, providing children with opportunities to engage across social and ecological worlds. This is particularly necessary and worth exploring in a post-COVID moment, where large portions of children have been subject to displacement. Incorporating more immersive environmental education in the curriculum helps produce more resilient subjects and spaces.

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