Community gardening projects have emerged as a popular response to contemporary economic, ecological, and public health crises. The motives underpinning individual projects vary, but they frequently aim to address issues such as obesity, food deserts, poor nutrition, and poverty by increasing access to fresh produce and encouraging physical activity. Such initiatives have become increasingly common in the Southern US, where high rates of both obesity and poverty are prevalent. In spring 2013, seeds were planted for the Seed to Table project, a community garden linked with an educational program in a neighborhood of Lafayette, Louisiana considered to be a food desert due to its distance from the nearest grocery store. This thesis examines the overlapping rhetorics of public health and environment that shape the community gardening movement through the lens of the Seed to Table project. I have two central research questions. First, what are the central discourses at play in the contemporary community gardening movement? Second, how do these discourses complement and clash with one another in the context of the Seed to Table summer program? Drawing on field experiences with this summer program, I integrate ethnographic study with an examination of public discourse surrounding community gardens. I examine the ways in which the agenda of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation's Challenge for a Healthier Louisiana, which provides funding for the Healthy Living Club and other initiatives that aim to address obesity through behavioral and environmental interventions, shapes the goals of the Seed to Table program, and argue that the core values of this program are common among community garden projects. In doing so I aim to position the community garden as a locus of the overlapping and sometimes contradictory rhetorics of obesity, alternative food, localism, and agrarianism.
|Commitee:||Dorwick, Keith, Goodwin, Jonathan, Laudun, John|
|School:||University of Louisiana at Lafayette|
|School Location:||United States -- Louisiana|
|Source:||MAI 53/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Environmental education, Public health, Rhetoric|
|Keywords:||Alternative food, Community gardening, Environment, Environmental education, Obesity, Public health|
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