Community Agriculture Initiatives/Schoolyard Gardens

Bruno, Justin Dean. 2013 Breaking the Fast Food Chain: Introducing Urban Agriculture To Foster Healthy Eating Habits In America. Master’s Thesis, Landscape Architecture, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. 66 pages.

Using the California neighborhood in Louisville, KY as a case study, Bruno explores various strategies to weave urban agriculture into the fabric of a particular neighborhood. He chooses the California neighborhood for a number of reasons: It is a food desert and has a high incidence of diet-related health problems. Its residents are dealing with unemployment and poverty. Bruno also mentions the importance of the inclusion of children in urban greening initiatives. He ultimately proposes a design that he hopes will serve as a prototype for future urban farms. He suggests California Park as a place to foster experiential learning, promote community engagement, and to provide organic, local food to community residents. Because this thesis was used to attain a degree in Landscape architecture, Bruno pays particular attention to the design and allotment of land for this multipurpose urban farm and incorporates sustainable practices into its design. For example, he suggests the inclusion of a meeting place in the middle of the farm in order to foster a sense of community. This communal space could be converted into a farmer’s market on the weekends. This source provides a particularly useful template for urban agriculture and the author also demonstrates how this template can be modified to meet the unique needs of a particular community.


City Solutions Center. 2010 Schoolyards as Resources for Learning and Communities: A Design Handbook for Kentucky Schoolyards. Report, August. Louisville: Center for Environmental Policy and Management, University of Louisville, pp1-47. (48 pages)

The City Solutions Center (CSC) offers a guidebook for the development of schoolyards designed to facilitate experiential, community-based learning projects. Two examples include the West Marion Elementary School in Loretto and the Providence Montessori School in Lexington. Both schools built outdoor classrooms as part of their broader goal of cultivating a sense of interconnectedness with the earth and community members. The CSC’s handbook focuses on the potential design features of schoolyards, including gateways, greenhouses, gardens, native plants, trees, worktables, public art installations, and various teaching tools such as sampling tubes, rain gauges, and worm bins. In order for schoolyards to meet the needs of all community members, the CSC promotes a participatory learning process that entails community-based collaborative decision-making, creative problem-solving, honesty, and transparency.


City Solutions Center. 2010 Cane Run Elementary Schoolyard Project. Report. Louisville: City Solutions Center, University of Louisville. (35 pages)

This report describes a project completed by the City Solutions Center and Jefferson County Public Schools whose aim was to develop gardens and encourage environmental science education at Cane Run Elementary in Louisville’s south end. The main goal of the project was to build more attractive outdoor spaces that could serve as learning opportunities for new environmental science curricula; the project was also developed to serve as a model. Contextual information on the history of the Shively neighborhood and the elementary school is given to explain the need for the elementary school gardens project, and how it is also part of the broader goals of implementing overall neighborhood improvement. Participants included the CSC, local residents, teachers at Cane Run Elementary, and other concerned parties, all of whom worked together to build and develop the gardens from the ground up.


City Solutions Center. 2009 Portland Elementary Schoolyard Project. Report. Louisville: City Solutions Center, University of Louisville. (39 pages)

This report describes a project completed by the City Solutions Center and Jefferson County Public Schools to redevelop gardens and revamp environmental science education at an underserved school in Louisville’s West End. The project was also designed to serve as a model for other elementary school garden programs in Louisville. Contextual information on the history of the Portland neighborhood and the elementary school illustrates the deep history and the need for community engagement. The private sector and a broad group of engaged community members, including many parents, came together to plan the new gardens and curricula.


Grossman, Robin Oxnard. 2000 A Comparison of the Characteristics of Gardeners, Their Motivations for Gardening and Management Practices of Blackacre Community Garden and Limerick Community Garden in Jefferson County, Kentucky. M.S. Thesis, Environmental Education, Policy, & Management Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Louisville. (98 pages)

In his study of the motivations of community gardeners at two sites in Louisville (Blackacre and Limerick), Grossman found that 47 of the 49 gardeners at the two sites were white, and the majority of the gardeners were over age 61 and had more than 15 years of gardening experience. Survey respondents did not regard food security as an important motivation for their gardening activities; instead, respondents said that the two garden sites provided several quality-of-life benefits, which ranged from building social relationships to staying physically active by working with the soil and plants. Grossman briefly mentions that respondents engaged in gardening as a hobby rather than as a strategy to meet economic needs. Grossman suggests that future research on community gardens in Louisville should seek to better understand how and why community members participate at garden sites throughout the city.


Hashim, Nadra. 2014   Reversing Food Desertification: Examining Urban Farming in Louisville, Chicago and Detroit. Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability 1(1):1-26. 26 pages.

Hashim examines two strategies to combat the growing problem of obesity and the related issue of food desertification: urban gardening and a trans-fat ban. Hashim argues that in cities such as Louisville, Chicago, and Detroit, where the trans-fat ban has thus far shown little improvement of health outcomes, urban farming is a better candidate. She uses Louisville as a case study because its urban gardening scene is relatively young. While assessing the current status of urban agriculture, she examines the impact of race on food access. She finds that large grocery store chains and even farmers who sell their produce at farmer’s markets, see these neighborhoods as financially risky. She envisions urban gardening as a practical solution to reverse food desertification in these areas. This article would be useful for those seeking a comparative analysis of urban gardening strategies in Louisville, Chicago, and Detroit.


Louisville Department of Economic Growth and Innovation Community Gardens in Louisville: A Start-up Guide (45 pages)

Funded by a grant from the Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Movement and the CDC, this guide provides comprehensive information for anyone interested in starting a community garden. In addition to providing information on logistical issues (permits, location, soil quality, garden design and funding), the guide also offers insights into gaining community interest and support and highlights the benefits of a community garden using the Parkland Community Garden as an example. A thorough appendix at the end of the guide provides information for a wide variety of issues relating to community gardens, including how to take soil samples for testing, plans for various garden layouts, legal code and regulations, a sample gardener agreement and additional resources listing contact information for relevant organizations and government offices. This guide does a fantastic job of combining a wealth of sources and information related to community gardens into one convenient document.


Turner, Allison H. 2009  Urban Agriculture and Soil Contamination: An Introduction to Urban Gardening. Practice Guide 25. Louisville: University of Louisville Department of Sociology, Center for Environmental Policy and Management, Environmental Finance Center: Serving EPA Region 4. (20 pages)

Written by Allison Turner, a former graduate research assistant at the University of Louisville’s Center for Environmental Policy and Management, this practice guide serves to familiarize readers on the contaminants and pollutants in produce gardens. Although short, this work provides a good starting place for those learning about different pollutants in soil, and describes how to go about testing soil in Louisville and Kentucky as a whole, collecting samples and mediating the problem of polluted soil. Briefly discussed are the different types of soil mediation methods and their relative benefits within the scope of urban agriculture. Although this guide is limited to a basic overview of soil contamination and doesn’t go into many specifics, it serves well as to acquaint readers with the topic and includes a number of useful links to outside websites.


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