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Evaluation of the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy 2000-2004: Gilles Plains Community Garden Case Study



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Evaluation of the
Stronger Families and
Communities Strategy
Gilles Plains Community Garden
A Case Study
June 2004
Gilles Plains Community Garden
1 Summary iii
2 Introduction 1
2.1 Structure of the Report 1
2.2 Background to the Case Study 1
2.3 Objectives of the Case Study 2
2.4 Key Research Questions 2
2.5 Research Methodology 3
3 Community Gardens in Australia 5
3.1 Summary 5
3.2 What is Community Gardening? 5
3.3 History of Community Gardening 6
3.4 The Australian Community Gardens Network 7
3.5 Benefits of Community Gardening 8
4 The Gilles Plains Community Garden 11
4.1 Summary 11
4.2 Social and Geographic Context 12
4.3 Project Origin, Scope and Scale 12
4.4 Objectives of the Community Garden 13
4.5 Chronology 15
5 How does your Garden Grow? 16
5.1 Summary 16
5.2 How the Community Garden Works 16
5.3 Achievements of the Community Garden 21
5.4 Articulating a Project Logic for the Community Garden 26
5.5 Looking Ahead: Sustainability, Replication & Other Lessons 30
6 References 32
Gilles Plains Community Garden
Written by:
Mr Brad Astbury
Dr Patricia Rogers
With the assistance of:
Mrs Roslyn Humble
Ms Sue Kimberley
This evaluation report would not have been possible without the assistance and input of
a number of individuals and groups. Many thanks to the South Australian Family and
Community Services Office in Adelaide, and in particular the Stronger Families and
Communities Strategy Project Officer, Meredith Lee, who kindly gave of her time to
participate in the study.
Julie Coulls and Liz Hetzel from the Adelaide Central Community Health Service helped
to facilitate the site visit and group interview held at the community garden in Gilles
Plains. They also contributed their valuable time to be interviewed and went beyond the
call of duty to make me feel welcome. Many of the early photos contained in this report
were provided by Julie, and for that I thank her. They provide a valuable ‘before and
after’ view of the project.
Finally, and most importantly, to the many and various individuals from the garden group
who took part in this study I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude for the
enthusiasm and vigour with which you approached the task. It is not always easy to talk
with a complete stranger about your perceptions and experiences of a project you hold
dear, but you were able to express your thoughts with honesty and clarity -thankyou.
Brad Astbury
Gilles Plains Community Garden
1 Summary
The Australian Government’s Stronger Families and Communities Strategy is funding
over 600 projects to help build family and community capacity to deal with challenges
and take advantages of opportunities.
Capacity, at a community level, refers to the potential for action arising out of the
interplay between human capital (levels of skills, knowledge and health status), social
and institutional capital (leadership, motivation, networks) and economic capital (local
services, infrastructure and resources).
The Gilles Plains Community Garden, a
project that received funding under the
Strategy, provides insights into how this
capacity can be developed, and then used
for a series of activities. These insights
are relevant to a broad range of capacity
building projects, not just to community
gardens. In this project, some of the
capacity was very tangible – the physical
infrastructure of the garden- but some
was less tangible but equally important –
the human capital of skills and knowledge; and the developing social capital of networks
and trust.
The case study describes how the project was developed and implemented, its short-
term outcomes, and the potential for further outcomes through further use of the capacity
developed in the program. It analyzes the factors that are seen to have been important
in its success, including significant time and attention to planning and consultation,
appropriate physical location, the development of effective partnerships, and building on
previous developments.
The case study also analyses the contribution of the Strategy to the observed outcome.
In projects such as these involving multiple activities and funders, support from the
Strategy (through funding and assistance during project development and
implementation) has been a necessary component, and effective in combination with
others’ efforts.
A garden provides a useful metaphor for other capacity-building projects. Successful
gardens and projects require thorough preparation and durable infrastructure. Once the
initial construction has been
completed, it creates opportunities for
a range of new activities and
Gilles Plains Community Garden
2 Introduction
2.1 Structure of the Report
This introductory chapter provides an overview of the evaluation framework for this case
study, including: a brief review of the background to the case study and its relationship to
the national evaluation of the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy; a discussion
of the evaluation objectives, questions and methodologies; and finally, an overview of
the structure and content of this report.
Chapter Three discusses previous conceptual and empirical work on community
gardens, while Chapter Four describes the Gilles Plains community garden in
northeastern Adelaide. Chapter Five brings these together to analyse how the garden
works to achieve the intended outcomes.
Chapter Six brings together the themes identified in previous chapters of the report to
highlight key implications for the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy, and for
the following stages in the evaluation.
2.2 Background to the Case Study
Through the $225 million Stronger Families and Communities Strategy, the Australian
Government is providing funding and support for projects to strengthen families and
communities, with particular focus on those at risk of social, economic and geographic
isolation. A national evaluation of the Strategy is being conducted by a consortium of
organisations led by RMIT University Collaborative Institute for Research, Consulting
and Learning in Evaluation (CIRCLE), including BearingPoint, Performance
Improvement, and Curtin University Consulting Services (which is responsible for the
Indigenous component of the evaluation).
The Strategy, which was launched in 2000, represents a new and groundbreaking policy
direction that focuses on prevention, early intervention and capacity building initiatives to
help support and strengthen Australian families and communities. The Strategy includes
funding over 600 projects across Australia. The Strategy represents an innovation in
government policy that focuses on assisting local communities to work together in
addressing factors that impact on the healthy development of Australian families and
The Strategy is underpinned by a set of eight key principles
working together in partnerships
encouraging a preventative and early intervention approach
supporting people through life transitions
developing better integrated and coordinated services
developing local solutions to local problems
building capacity
using the evidence and looking to the future, and
making the investment count.
Gilles Plains Community Garden
2.3 Objectives of the Case Study
As part of a larger evaluation of the Strategy a number of case studies of specific
projects or communities are being conducted.
This report presents the results from a
case study of the Gilles Plains Community Garden in South Australia (‘the Community
Garden’). Field work including interviews and site visits were undertaken over two days
between 31
July and 1
August 2003.
The objectives of this case study of the Gilles Plains Community Garden were:
To document the processes and outcomes of a project seen to have been
particularly successful, and analyse the factors influencing outcomes, particularly
the sustainability of these outcomes;
To explore particularly the issues of combined funding from multiple sources and
causal attribution in such circumstances; and
To work with evaluation audiences to develop a form of case study report that will
be most useful for informing future policy and practice.
Within this framework of objectives for the evaluation, emphasis was placed on the
question of ‘what works for whom and why in relation to strategic interventions designed
to strengthen families and communities’- focussing on the mechanisms acting in context
that generate particular outcomes for families and communities.
2.4 Key Research Questions
The following key research questions for the Community Garden project were derived
from information available in program documentation, a review of the literature on
community gardens and documents concerning the national evaluation of the Stronger
Families and Community Strategy. The evaluation questions, with further elaboration in
brackets, are as follows:
What are the major features of the Community Garden project and how does it
‘work’? (The activities and processes)
In what way is the Community Garden benefiting individuals, families,
organisations and communities in the short term, and how likely are these to be
sustained in the medium and long term? (The outcomes)
How has the Community Garden produced these outcomes? (Causal
In what ways does the context in which the Community Garden operates
encourage or undermine its impact on families and communities? (The
relationship between the mechanism, outcome and context)
What role has the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy played in the
development, implementation and impact of the Community Garden? (The
attribution of outcomes to the Strategy)
In particular, how has the Strategy contributed to a project with multiple funding
sources and partnerships?
Gilles Plains Community Garden
How, where and for whom could the effects of the Community Garden be
replicated? (The transferability and other implications for the Stronger Families
and Communities Strategy).
2.5 Research Methodology
A qualitative approach to data collection was undertaken to address the evaluation
objectives outlined previously. Three data sources were relied upon in this case study:
document review; site visit; and interviews.
Document Review
The case study was informed by: the literature on community gardens; Australian
Bureau of Statistics census data on the Gilles Plains region; FaCS project files, policy
and strategic documents held in the Adelaide office and on the FaCS project database
including informal reports to FaCS; and data from the project questionnaire.
Documentary sources were used to:
Identify relevant groups and individuals to interview;
Provide background information about the region;
Provide specific data about the Community Garden and other Strategy projects,
as originally planned and as actually implemented;
Provide relevant information about Strategy policy at a local and national level;
Triangulate (confirm) data collected from other sources; and
Identify particular issues and concerns for individual and group discussion (see
Site Visit
With the consent of the auspicing organisations, a site visit to the South Australian State
Office in Adelaide and the Community Garden in Gilles Plains (a northern suburb of
Adelaide) was undertaken between 31
July and 1
of August, 2003.
The primary purpose of the site visits was to conduct group and individual interviews
with stakeholders (see below) and take photographs of project activities for inclusion in
the case study report.
The site visit to the Community Garden was also important for understanding how the
geography and architecture of the site has potentially influenced project developments
and it provided an opportunity to observe the use of the garden by various groups.
A research journal was kept to record important observations and experiences whilst
undertaking the field work for the evaluation. These notes facilitated data triangulation
and formed an important part of the overall body of data collected and analysed for
inclusion in this report.
Gilles Plains Community Garden
In-depth, semi-structured, face-to-face individual and group interviews were conducted
with a range of key stakeholders involved in the planning, support and operation of the
various activities around the Community Garden. The interviews and consultations were
largely undertaken during the site visits, although there was some initial planning and
consulting work with key informants prior to the fieldwork in South Australia.
Overall, approximately 25 to 30 people, all adults, participated in this case study.
Participants were drawn from the following agencies, services and groups who have
played a role in the planning and implementation of the Community Garden:
The Adelaide Central Community Health Service;
South Australian FaCS Office;
The Gilles Plains Community Campus incorporating the Health Service, Anglican
Church (Anglican Nunga Ministry), Child Care Centre, Community House and
Primary School.
Representatives from the Gilles Plains Community Garden Group including the
Community Campus (above), Aboriginal Reference Group, North Eastern
Community Assistance Program and the Domestic Violence Support Group.
The interviews were conducted with the informed consent of participants and when
practicable tape-recorded to facilitate analysis. The interviews typically last one to two
hours and were structured to explore in detail issues associated with: the history,
development and implementation of the Community Garden; perceptions of the short,
medium and long term impact of the Community Garden on individual, family,
organisational and community strength and well-being; relationship to the overall
Strategy; and finally, recommendations for program replication and ongoing
sustainability of outcomes.
Participation in the interviews was entirely voluntary and participants were required to
sign a consent form prior to the interview. To ensure anonymity and confidentiality,
participant comments are not attributed to particular individuals.
Data Analysis and Reporting
Analysis of qualitative data was ongoing before, during and after the data collection
phase. This approach allows data and theory to interact in an iterative way so that theory
can emerge through induction rather than traditional deductive processes such as a
priori hypothesis testing.
The reporting of participant data has given priority to the voices and experiences of
those who took part in this study. Quotations (without attribution to specific individuals)
are used to add depth, richness and authenticity to the analysis contained in this report.
Recorded observations from the field journal, photographs and other documentary
sources are used either as supporting evidence, or where necessary to contest the
views expressed by participants during individual and group discussions.
Gilles Plains Community Garden
3 Community Gardens in Australia
3.1 Summary
This chapter discusses the specific features of community gardens, and their different
intended outcomes. It begins by defining what is meant by the term ‘community garden’
then discusses the history, development and current status of community gardens in
Australia and closes with a discussion of the reported benefits of community gardening.
In the past community gardens were seen as an important way to alleviate food
shortages in times of depression and war. Interest in community gardening declined
during the post-war boom period where economic prosperity reduced the necessity for
gardens, although environmental concerns helped to ensure their survival.
In the past 15 years there has been renewed attention directed towards community
gardening projects with support from governments (particularly local government) who
have begun to recognise the potential value and benefits of using gardens as a cost-
effective tool for individual, family and community building (Grayson & Campbell, 2000).
This shift in focus from food supply and environmental benefits to a range of medium
and longer term health, psycho-social and economic benefits has helped to boost the
number of community gardens currently operating in Australia from one in 1977 to over
forty today (Phillips, 1996).
However, because these changes have occurred only recently there has been little work
undertaken to better understand how community gardens work to achieve positive
outcomes for individuals, families and communities. The case study of a community
garden located at the Gilles Plains Community Campus in Adelaide focuses to some
extent on these particular issues to do with community gardens, and to some extent
serves as a more general examples of a capacity-building project.
3.2 What is Community Gardening?
The Australian Community Gardens Network (2003) provides a useful starting point for
exploring the concept of community gardening. They define community gardens as
‘places where people come together to grow fresh food, to learn, relax and make new
Community gardens can be further classified on the basis of how the gardening is
conducted – either on a shared basis (communal garden) or on an individual basis
(allotment garden).
Gilles Plains Community Garden
However, this broad description does not account for the range of different ways in
which community gardens manifest in local neighbourhoods
. Projects vary considerably
in range and size from large-scale urban farms that occupy significant areas of land and
offer a plethora of activities to small-scale community allotments on restricted areas of
vacant or unused public or private land (Eliott, 1983).
Crabtree (1999) examined eight community gardens in and around Sydney and found
significant variations in ‘complexity, diversity and overlap in their members, structures,
philosophies and interactions’ (p. 66). For example, the Women’s Community Garden in
Marrickville is a 0.25 hectare communal site with a small group of around ten members
who manage the garden on an ad hoc basis. In contrast, the Angel Street Permaculture
Garden is a 1 hectare site with a well established management structure. New members
must undertake an initial process involving a tour by a core gardener and the provision
of the five-year plan for the garden. Gardeners meet on Saturday mornings and harvests
are shared communally.
It is clear though, that community gardening is simply one form of urban agriculture. The
common feature of urban agriculture is the production of living vegetation (food, flowers,
herbs and so on) within an urban (usually city) setting. This process is experienced
through local networks which encompass not only the practical aspects of cultivation,
harvest and distribution but more importantly, the social dimension of collective
interaction. (Brisbin, 2002).
3.3 History of Community Gardening
The idea of community gardening originated in Britain during the 18
, and in particular
centuries, where plots of land referred to as allotments were made available under
the Allotments Act (1887) to the labouring poor for the production of vegetables and
flowers (Gelsi, 1999; Hunt, 2002; Eliott, 1983).
The practice of community garden among urban working class spread throughout
industrial countries including much of Europe and the United States in the 1800s (Coe,
1978). In comparison, the history of community gardens in Australia has no legislative
foundation, but can be traced back to the Second World War when food shortages and
economic depression prompted the government to encourage families to work together
in ‘Victory Gardens’ to produce fruits and vegetables for the table (Hunt, 2002).
Despite an initial post-war decline, growing public awareness of environmental issues
coupled with an escalation of high-density housing in Western cities re-fuelled the
demand for community gardens. Over the last three decades, many neglected vacant
lots in the modern urban environment have been transformed into thriving gardens. For
example, a 1996 survey reported that over 6,000 community gardens are operating in
the United States (Hunt, 2002; Schukoske, 2000).
Community gardens have been defined in a variety of different ways. For a review see Schukoske (2000,
p. 355).
Gilles Plains Community Garden
The first Australian community garden was established in 1977 in Nunawading,
. The development of the garden was driven by Dr Gavan Oakley, then a
local councillor who felt that the garden would benefit both older and younger members
of the community by reducing social isolation and providing unemployed young people
with something to do. Management of the garden is the responsibility of a voluntary
users’ committee and both communal and individual plots are provided at a small cost to
members (Eliott, 1983; Hering, 1995).
The Nunawading garden is seen to be an extremely successful and innovative
community development project that has provided a working model on which many
subsequent gardens in Australia have based their ventures.
3.4 The Australian Community Gardens Network
The Australian Community Gardens Network
(ACGN) was established in 1994 by
Darren Phillips as a result of a study he conducted on community gardens in Australia
which identified a lack of communication among various gardens, who were acting
independently of each other rather than sharing information and providing support
(Crabtree, 1999).
The role of the ACGN has evolved over time to encompass a range of activities other
than simply making connections. According to information on the website, the ACGN is
an informal, community-based organisation linking people interested in community
gardening across Australia that aims to promote the benefits of community gardening
and facilitate the development and maintenance of gardens through information
dissemination and advice.
State coordinators help to facilitate interaction and communication among various
community gardens as well as advocate and mediate in negotiations on behalf of
gardens (e.g. to local regulatory bodies) and provide advice to those interested in
developing a community garden in their area.
The ACGN maintains a website that includes information about the network, the history
of community gardens in Australia, tips on how to plan and start a community garden, a
list of contacts and stories about the community garden experience as well as useful
links to research, policy and practice in the area of community gardening.
Increased involvement by State governments in facilitating community garden
development in and around housing estates and development of state community
garden organisations has implications for the future of the ACGN as a central co-
Although there is some confusion here, as another source identities the Collingwood Community Garden
(est. 1979) as being the first (Hunt, 2002, p. 153).
Formerly the Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network
See the notice on the ACGN website (Accessed
on 23/7/03).
Gilles Plains Community Garden
3.5 Benefits of Community Gardening
The community garden literature is replete with examples of the environmental, health,
psychological, social and economic benefits that community garden can provide across
a range of individual, family and community domains.
Research has found that a significant proportion of land in the average city lies vacant
and unused because of population and residential shifts due to de-industrialisation,
irregular, undeveloped or small land size and changing perceptions of desirable housing
(Schukoske, 2000).
Community gardens can directly contribute to improving the urban environment because
they ‘bring derelict land into productive use, regreen streetscapes and increase wildlife
habitat’ (Grayson & Campbell, 2000, p. 2). They also help to promote awareness of
organic gardening and permaculture principles that aim to encourage sustainable use of
the environment (Crabtree, 1999).
Community gardening is an active pursuit that brings a range of physical health benefits.
There is evidence, for example, to suggest that by growing some of their own fresh fruit
and vegetables individuals and families increase their consumption of nutritious food and
decrease their consumption of sweet foods and drinks (Blair, Giesecke & Sherman,
In Australia, gardening remains one of the most popular leisure pursuits and is a
recommended form of physical activity. The exercise associated with gardening has
been found to provide significant benefits to individual health such as reduced
cholesterol and blood pressure (Hunt, 2002; Armstrong, 2000).
One study found that characteristics of community gardens such as social support, an
emphasis on informal networks and community organising through empowerment offer
an important mechanism for public health promotion in social and economically
disadvantaged communities (Armstong, 2000).
There is an extensive history of the use of community gardens to improve psychological
well-being, often through horticulture therapy which has been used in prison and mental
health settings as a form of rehabilitation. A number of studies have explored the
psychological benefits of gardening and found that it has the potential to relieve anxiety,
depression and promote relaxation through nature-based activity (see for example, Coe,
1978; Kaplan, 1973; McBey, 1985).
Gilles Plains Community Garden
Other important psychological aspects of community gardens are the ability to
encourage learning and growth among individuals as well as facilitate community
education. It has been suggested that learning to grow plants stimulates the mind and
adds to an individual’s knowledge and skill base. Community gardening can also assist
in community education about waste management, composting, recycling water
reduction and organic gardening. A number of community gardens have been used as
learning venues by local schools, TAFE and universities.
Research on community gardening suggests that it acts as an important trigger for
releasing mechanisms such as social interaction and cooperation that produce a variety
of positive outcomes for individuals and communities.
Both Grayson & Campbell (2000) and Brisbin (2002) have found that community workers
in Australia are increasingly using community gardens as a community development tool
rather than for simply improving access to food or nutritional health
In a review of the social benefits of community gardening, Schukoske (2000) notes that
community gardens have the potential to transform vacant lots which pose a hazard to
the community and attract antisocial behaviour into places which foster a spirit of
community co-operation and improve ‘social capital’
Schukoske (2000) identifies a range of social objectives that community gardens might
help to achieve. These can be grouped into the following four categories:
An increase in community cohesiveness and capacity;
Foster collaboration and interaction among local residents from a diverse range
of backgrounds, thereby reducing discrimination;
The promotion of self-respect in residents of low-income neighbourhoods; and
A reduction in the levels of criminal activity by reducing opportunity and creating
defensible space
Kuo & Sullivan (2001), who investigated public housing development in Chicago found
that apartment buildings surrounded by vegetation reported significantly lower personal
and property crime, and concluded:
Greenery helps people to relax and renew, reducing aggression. Green spaces
bring people together outdoors. Their presence increases surveillance and
discourages criminals. The green and groomed appearance of an apartment
building is a cue that owners and residents care about a property, and watch
over it and each other (p. 343).
This reflects trends in the use of community gardens in the Unites States (see for example The American
Community Gardening Association, 2003).
The term ‘social capital’ refers to aspects of social organisation such as networks, norms, an social trust
that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit (Putman, 1993).
Gilles Plains Community Garden
Community gardens are social venues where people can gather and meet new people,
establish new partnerships and work together toward a common goal. Clearly then,
community gardening needs to be conceived as an inherently social activity that involves
processes of negotiation, shared decision-making, interaction and problem-solving.
These processes can help to build and strengthen family and community relations
(Phillips, 1996).
Community gardens have been traditionally used as a means for low-income, urban
families (often newly arrived migrants) to increase access to food supplies, particularly
during periods of economic depression and war. One study estimated that savings of
between $50 and $250 dollars (US) per season in food costs could be made for people
who participated in community gardens (Hlubik, Hamm, Winokur & Baron, 1994 as cited
in Anderson, 2000).
Another economic benefit of community gardens is their potential to provide a base for
job creation and job skill training opportunities. For example, many TAFE institutes utilise
gardens for conducting classes on horticulture that may lead to future employment in the
area for students (Eliott, 1983).
Through promoting local, sustainable food systems and improving job skills through
training, community gardens may have a positive impact on local and national
Gilles Plains Community Garden
4 The Gilles Plains Community Garden
4.1 Summary
This chapter provides a background and context to the Gilles Plains Community Garden
initiative. The project is examined along several key dimensions that can be grouped into
the following categories: social and geographic context, project origin, scope and scale,
project objectives and a chronology of the project.
The Community Garden is located in Gilles Plains, which is a culturally diverse suburb of
Adelaide that has traditionally been disadvantaged in economic terms. The garden has
been built on a small area of land (40 square metres) that was previously an asphalt car
park. It is centrally placed within a collection of services known as the Gilles Plains
Community Campus.
[Before March 2000]
The project emerged from the community, which saw the potential for doing something
productive with the car park to strengthen links between local residents, the services
around the campus and local government. Broad objectives focus on promoting cultural
awareness, building community capacity and improving social interaction and
The project is typical of many small-scale, communal gardens that operate in Australia. It
is reported that a diverse and growing range of groups use the garden including some
regular groups such as the primary school, child care centre and health outreach
service. There is continual use by local residents, both families and individuals.
Gilles Plains Community Garden
4.2 Social and Geographic Context
The community garden is a 40 square metre area located in the middle of a community
campus, which incorporates a health outreach service, a church, a community house, a
childcare centre and a primary school. The land is owned by the South Australian
Department of Education, Training and Employment, but leased by the health service.
The garden is situated in Gilles Plains a north eastern suburb of Adelaide that occupies
an area of 1.8 square kilometres. Gilles Plains is a low SES area with a significant
amount of high-density housing and despite recent redevelopments remains highly
disadvantaged in economic terms. The project falls within the Strategy Targeting
Framework for South Australia for areas considered to be in most need of assistance.
According to 2001 census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2002) there are
3,108 persons living in Gilles Plains with a sizeable proportion (3%) identifying that they
are of Aboriginal descent. Around 23% of residents were born overseas from countries
such as United Kingdom, Vietnam, Germany, Philippines and the Republic of South
A little over 14% of residents are aged 65 years and over and most residents earn less
than $400 a week, with around 4% indicating negative or nil income. Approximately 13%
of households were single-parent families with children under 15 years of age and over
23% of residents live in State Housing Authority dwellings
4.3 Project Origin, Scope and Scale
The project evolved as a result of discussions over the years by various individuals and
local groups who saw the potential for doing something productive with the car park to
strengthen links between the services around the campus and promote reconciliation. It
was seen to be a practical way of involving service groups, the Aboriginal community
and local residents in a non-threatening environment – ‘all the groups were there but no-
one was really talking’ because there was not common ground to interact.
The Adelaide Central Community Health Service played a key role in mobilising and
engendering feedback from the community through various workshops, letterbox drops
to local residents and attendance and community events. In particular, the health service
had experience in applying for funding. The Garden was 18 months in the planning from
conception to commencing Garden construction.
In addition to Stronger Families and Communities Strategy funding through the
Strategy’s ‘Local Solutions to Local Problems’ Initiative, the garden was also funded
through numerous other sources including the Port Adelaide-Enfield Council and the
South Australian Housing Trust. In-kind support was also provided from local businesses
and research was undertaken by the Urban Forest Biodiversity Group.
Gilles Plains Community Garden
Total initial funding of the Garden was $37,260 with the SFCS portion being $20,470.
The bulk of the SFCS funding was used for establishing the garden infrastructure which
involved bitumen removal and dumping, garden loam, irrigation, paving, equipment
community education and training.
[June 2000]
The target group for the project includes disadvantaged families and community
members in the Gilles Plains area including older people, school children and
Indigenous persons, although the garden is open to all members of the community.
The potential number of recipients to be assisted through the Garden project is
estimated to be at least 100 to 200 people, chiefly comprising the groups who utilise the
services of the campus as well as local residents.
In the process of developing and implementing the community garden project,
considerable effort was made to form and involve multiple partners. Significant links
were established with local Indigenous groups, various community agencies and
businesses to facilitate the planning of the garden. Allowing sufficient time for planning,
the formation of partnerships and community mobilisation was identified as a critical
ingredient in the achievement of intended outcomes.
4.4 Objectives of the Community Garden
The community garden aims to improve the local community through greater
understanding of each other and the environment, and to provide an important
opportunity to explore the relationship between personal well-being and the
Gilles Plains Community Garden
More specifically, the stated objectives of the garden include:
To create a practical reconciliation project where local Indigenous and non-
Indigenous people can work together
To create a beautiful and productive community garden which acts as a focus for
cultural and educational activities – a place for people to meet, rest, reflect and
To encourage local people to work together on community projects and thereby
strengthening community connections
To provide community members with opportunities to train in garden
development and maintenance
To enhance local knowledge of native plants and how they are traditionally used
by Indigenous people
To give local school children the opportunity to learn about plants and gardening,
particularly in relation to their Indigenous and Italian cultural studies programs,
To provide a focus for the school’s Gardening Club and Environmental Club.
During interviews with program staff and
community garden participants these formal
objectives were elaborated to include the
breaking down barriers and sharing
Aboriginal culture with the community;
getting rid of an eyesore and creating a
lovely, peaceful place to be in;
learning about gardening, the plants and
good food;
encouraging others to garden as well –
especially the school children;
to create space and remove an eyesore
that was hot in the summer and cold in the
winter; and,
people coming together regardless of
[Laying paving July 2002]
Gilles Plains Community Garden
4.5 Chronology
The following chronology shows clearly how Strategy funding built on previous work, and
helped to create a basis for further activities.
Stages Key Project Events Comments
Before funding
under the
Local community garden
in the community garden
at the North Eastern
Community House (later
demolished during
building redevelopment)
provided a precedent
Community mobilisation
and planning
Support and some
funding secured from
local agencies
Formation of Community
Garden Working Group
Considerable time and resources were
invested into planning the garden prior
to funding being sought and received
from FaCS. This has been identified as
a critical factor in the achievement of
There is an element of continuity
between the previous and the new
community gardens with the North
Eastern Community House forming part
of the Gilles Plains Community Campus
within which the new Gilles Plains
Community Garden has been located.
In addition, the Tool Bank from the
previous community garden was
transferred to the Gilles Plains
Community Garden.
Contract created
First Payment
Earthworks completed
Blessing Ceremony
Garden planted
This project experienced delays in
receiving its first payment due to
difficulties at the contract stage.
They were able to maintain momentum
due to support from local partners, who
underwrote costs while the project
waited for payment. Without this
practical support, this could have
significantly delayed and jeopardised
the project.
Receipt of final
Final payment
Continued development
of various sections of the
Weekly gathering and
formal monthly meetings
to plan activities and
Funding sought for future
Effective management of community
support is needed for project
maintenance to ensure that initial
enthusiasm does not diminish.
It may be necessary to monitor project
developments following the injection of
FaCS funding.
Beyond Strategy
Consolidation of program
successes through
implementation of
community arts project &
The ongoing commitment to further
development of the garden
demonstrates that sustainable capacity
has been developed.
Gilles Plains Community Garden
5 How does your Garden Grow?
5.1 Summary
This chapter provides an outline of the major inputs, activities and components of the
Community Garden to illustrate how the project works to achieve intended outcomes.
This process is represented diagrammatically in a program logic model.
Overall, it can be seen from the evidence presented that the project has and should
continue to enjoy considerable success. To a large extent this can be attributed to the
dedication, forward thinking and enthusiasm of both the community and a number of key
professionals who were able to draw on their skills in community development to bring
people together, harness community energy and secure funding from various sources to
implement a community garden that benefits individuals, families, organisations and the
local community.
The chapter is divided into four sections, including: a description of how the project
works; project outcomes and impact; an articulated program theory; and finally, issues
relating to replication and the future sustainability of the Garden. The results presented
below seek to address the objectives and questions of the case study and are based on
interview data, documentary sources and the site visit.
5.2 How the Community Garden Works
Components of the Garden
The community garden has been named ‘Kurruru Pingyarendi’ which translates to
Turning Circle. The name symbolises ‘themes of reflection, looking at things from
different angles, coming together and harmony’ (Community Garden Evaluation Report,
2002, p.1).
There are six main aspects of the community garden: an Indigenous section; a herb
garden; a vegetable patch and fruit trees; a sensory garden, community artworks and a
meeting area/performance space. These areas provide a focal point for the various
activities conducted at the garden and are connected by a paved brick pathway which
winds throughout.
Gilles Plains Community Garden
The Indigenous section has been constructed to reflect both the strong cultural heritage
of the local Kaurna people and original
biodiversity of the area prior to
European settlement. This area of the
garden includes a frog pond, provides
a habitat for native fauna and helps to
conserve water. It also serves to
promote awareness of and respect for
the traditional culture of the
Indigenous people who live in the
area. For example, reeds planted in
the section were harvested and used
to conduct a basket weaving class.
The herb garden is laid out into the shape
of a wheel and includes herbs used by a
wide range of cultures. As an example of
how this section has been used, children
at the local primary school have
experimented with growing, cultivating
and preparing various Italian herbs for use
in home economics.
The vegetable garden and fruit tree
section is chiefly used by the primary
school and the community garden group.
The area also comprises a small nursery
and three compost bins. Some of the
trees are still developing and not yielding
much fruit as yet. The small amount of
vegetables and fruit produced from the
garden are shared communally among
those affiliated with the garden. For
example, watermelon was distributed
among the school children in summer and
excess vegetables are provided to low-income families and other individuals in need.
Gilles Plains Community Garden
The sensory garden contains
a variety of fragrant and
scented plants such as
lemon balsam. Many
different groups utilise this
section, wandering through
and taking in the variety of
smells that emanate. For
example, the domestic
violence support group use
the fragrant plants to make
scented things for their
Gilles Plains Community Garden
The final two sections of the garden– the community artworks and meeting/performance
space – are currently being developed. Funding has been successfully secured from
ARTS SA and the Port Adelaide/Enfield Council ($10, 000) to involve the local
community in creating mosaic, sculpture and art. Nunga women from the new Aboriginal
Community Centre (under development) have also expressed a strong interest in
becoming involved in the art project
. When completed, the meeting space will provide a
focus for social events.
Management Structures
The garden is managed on an inclusive philosophy by a 15 to 20 member Gilles Plains
Community Garden Group comprising representatives from the Adelaide Central
Community Health Service, the local Primary School, Child Care Centre, Aboriginal
Reference Group, Anglican Church, Community House, Domestic Violence Support
Group and local residents. The group has been meeting regularly since early 2000 to
plan the creation of the garden.
The garden group currently meets every Friday at the Gilles Plains Community Campus
health outreach building to plan activities, communicate news, work in the garden and
evaluate the project. A more formal meeting is held on the first Friday of each month.
These meetings are open to all interested individuals and groups.
A set of guidelines for bottom-up decision-making has been developed by the group as
well as a set of principles for the garden concept that focus on local ownership,
inclusiveness, tolerance, cultural awareness, equality and respect. The direction of the
garden is driven by local needs and interests.
Extensive consultation with the community is a significant part of the management
process. Strong links to the community and relevant agencies has been ongoing. For
example, the Gilles Plains Primary School has been involved in the development of a
worm farm, a food growing area at the old toilet blocks, a quilt based on the Turning
Circle concept of the garden, a display about the garden in the school, and the linking of
class curricula to the garden (e.g. science, maths and history). Parents from the school
community also take part in garden activities on a regular basis.
Research and evaluation to support the garden has included a survey of participants, a
resource library at the Community Health Outreach Centre, a large journal which
comprises photos and sketches of the process of developing the garden, visits to local
and interstate community gardens to learn about effective gardening techniques and the
involvement of various individuals who have provided advice and training.
The community arts project has been widely promoted in the local press and among groups associated
with the garden. The first session was held on Saturday the 2
August – the day after the site visit was
conducted by the author (see attached flier).
Gilles Plains Community Garden
Communication and Promotion
A range of strategies to raise awareness of the garden have been employed. A brochure
describing the garden and the principles underpinning the garden has been developed
by the working group members and disseminated in the local community. Several
articles have also been published in the local newspaper and community newsletters.
Members of the working group actively promote the garden at community events and
meetings of various service agencies. These occasions are also used to engender
feedback from stakeholders and local residents. The forums and consultations help to
inform current and future activities at the garden and ensure the sustainability of the
project by maintaining the number and extent of participant involvement.
Specific events are also held to promote awareness of the garden and its objectives. For
example, in August 2001 a Blessing Ceremony was attended by around 200 local
residents. The ceremony was used to formally open the garden and acknowledge
traditional ownership of the land.
Due to the gardens’ central proximity to a local residents and service groups, a
substantial amount of information also travels via word-of-mouth.
Training and Education Strategies
A diverse group of individuals and agencies have been involved in the design and
delivery of various training and education programs to promote sustainability of the
garden. The training programs are advertised through local networks and print media
and open to all interested parties.
Examples of training and educational programs that have been delivered include:
A workshop on the history and significance of local Indigenous plants;
A four week garden course aimed at equipping gardeners with practical skills in
garden development and maintenance;
A workshop on back care in the garden run by a local physiotherapist;
A four week course on irrigation design and practice; and
A workshop on Occupation Health and Safety.
Additionally, the primary school has been able to successfully incorporate the garden
into curriculum. For example, teaching children about various plants and vegetables,
their history, uses and how they grow. Links have also been established with the local
high school and in the past training institutions have used the garden as an educational
venue for students to learn about horticulture.
On a more informal level, experienced gardeners have been able to impart their
knowledge about successful cultivation of plants, composting, irrigation and so on to less
experienced garden group members.
Gilles Plains Community Garden
5.3 Achievements of the Community Garden
This section draws on the perceptions and experiences of key stakeholders and garden
group members to understand the major outputs and outcomes that have emerged as a
result of community garden processes.
Intended Outputs
The SFCS Funding Agreement states that the SFCS funds would be used to achieve the
following outputs:
To transform the identified area into a community garden which will become a
focus for local cultural, Indigenous, educational, artistic, environmental and
recreational activities.
Training and support will be provided to community members in garden
development and maintenance, OH&S, landscaping, environmental and
conservation management.
Community connections will be strengthened through local people working
together on the development of the garden, by exchanging knowledge, building
respect, awareness and understanding, creating tolerance, harmony and social
The garden will be a practical reconciliation project where local Indigenous and
non-Indigenous can work together.
The garden will be a site for Indigenous cultural education, including the
provision of information on local native plants, their healing properties and how
they have been utilised by Indigenous people.
School children will have the opportunity to learn about plants and gardening,
particularly in relation to their Indigenous and Italian cultural studies programs.
Individual classes will tend to their own allotments creating a sense of ownership
and improving the children’s abilities to learn, interact and play. The garden will
enhance the school’s Gardening Club and Environmental Club.
Local people with disabilities and children attending the Childcare Centre will be
involved with the interactive aspect of the gardening by taking part in planning,
design, planting and maintenance activities. (SFCS Funding Agreement, 2002).
It is clear from an examination of program documentation and discussions with
individuals involved in the garden that these basic ‘outputs’ have clearly been achieved.
A basic assessment of the community garden against the literature on successful
program implementation (e.g. Gunn, 1978; Hill, 1997; Sabatier & Mazmanium, 1979)
further suggests that the project effectively applied a bottom-up approach whereby
professional community development workers from the local health service engaged the
community who then played an active role in both developing and planning the garden
as well as putting the policy into practice (i.e. constructing the garden).
Gilles Plains Community Garden
This helped to engender a sense of ownership in the project, ensure a clear
understanding and agreement upon aims and objectives and build a consensus among
relevant stakeholders. The context in which the garden was implemented was also
conducive, being well located among a group of committed service providers and
gaining the support of local government and business groups.
As a result of the energy and community enthusiasm devoted to the development and
implementation of the garden, individuals and key stakeholders were able to report a
range of positive outcomes. Many of the perceived benefits espoused by participants in
this study are reflected in the principles underpinning the SFCS (see Chapter One) as
well as the literature on community gardens (see Chapter Two).
Perceptions of Impact: What the Garden Means to Participants
Participants in the study were asked to comment on who the garden has benefited and
in what ways it has impacted on family and community capacity. The reported benefits
and impact can be discussed in relation to two broad outcome categories:
Individual and family;
Community and organisational.
Participants described a variety of benefits to individuals and families as a result of the
community garden in the areas of employment, education and training, personal and
social well being and health and nutrition.
The garden has provided an important educational and teaching resource for individuals
to improve their knowledge and skills in gardening and other related areas. For example,
the school principal explained that students are actively involved in the garden and
teachers use it as an effective tool to learn about the history and culture of the area,
biology and science of plant growth and practical aspects of food production and
There are also possible individual
benefits of using the garden as a base
for job skills training. A worker from the
community health service recounted that
in the past there has been some
involvement from the local TAFE and
high school with further work planned for
the future. It is possible that for some
individuals and volunteers who work at
the garden the skills they acquire may
increase their likelihood of obtaining
employment in occupations such as
horticulture or landscaping.
A few participants spoke about the garden in a therapeutic sense. They mentioned how
the garden has helped in their personal development and given them a sense of well-
being and satisfaction by getting back to nature and working together to accomplish
something. The school counsellor finds that the garden is a non-threatening location to
bring children when they are in need of assistance as it can have a calming effect.
Gilles Plains Community Garden
Another young female respondent was effusive in her comments about the garden and
how it has given her a sense of belonging. She recalled that since being involved in the
garden group she has been able to overcome personal difficulties in her life including
depression – ‘the garden is now helping me to raise my own family’.
Many local families use the garden as an alternative form of recreation on the weekends.
For example, one respondent mentioned that she regularly takes her family to the
garden when they come to visit as it is a pleasant environment for them to relax and
share in each others company.
Health benefits were also reported by some participants, mainly in relation to the
exercise they obtain through working at the community garden rather than the fresh food
supply and nutrition benefits (unlike some allotment gardens, the Gilles Plains garden
does not produce high quantities of vegetables and fruit). There is potential though, for
the garden to change individual and family knowledge and attitudes that could modify
eating patterns toward more nutritious meals.
The second cluster of possible benefits raised by participants can be grouped into
outcomes for the community and organisations, including: enhancement of partnerships,
building capacity and social capital, improving the urban environment and reducing
antisocial behaviour.
In accordance with the
principles underpinning
the SFCS the garden has
reportedly facilitated both
the establishment of new
links to agencies and
individuals as well as
strengthened existing
partnerships. Much like
the plants that have been
cultivated in the garden
these partnerships have
taken considerable time
and nourishment to
develop. In most cases
they have been built
around principles of
reciprocity and good will.
The project has forged a
strong social coalition
and ‘brought all the
agencies at the campus
together when previously
they were acting rather
Gilles Plains Community Garden
The advantage of working together to address complex social problems is illustrated well
in the following quote by a garden group member:
‘When I look back at the bare nothing out there and to see today that there is
something very special for all of us here it really makes me think that we can do
things if we work together’.
The above quote is also indicative of how
the garden has helped to achieve another
related function - building community and
organisational capacity and social capital.
The project has purportedly helped to
engage the community and foster
interaction, collaboration and
understanding among local residents
regardless of race, age, ethnicity or socio-
demographic background. As one
participant made clear during an
‘it has certainly helped to break
down barriers between Aboriginals
and non-Aboriginals…they are just
people like everyone else and it
doesn’t matter what colour your
skin is’.
One person who had been involved with
the project during its development said
‘there is community interaction that might
not have happened if the garden wasn’t
there’ and for this reason the project ‘was
a good example of what I thought building
community capacity meant’.
[May 2003 –Reconciliation Day]
Organisations also appear to have been aided as a result of participation in the project.
One key informant described that for some agencies it has helped to demystify
government processes such as applying and securing funding and another mentioned
that it has helped attract people to their organisation due to the beauty and uniqueness
of the garden.
Gilles Plains Community Garden
Participants said that there had been a surprisingly low number of incidents of vandalism
and theft reported at the garden site. Vacant lots can be a hazard to the community and
although not directly indicated by participants as an outcome attributable to the garden,
a reduction in antisocial behaviour and activity (as indicated in the literature) could have
occurred due to the creation of ‘defensible space
’ and increases in community
Another positive outcome for the community has been the environmental aspect of
‘greening the area’ and encouraging flora and fauna back to the neighbourhood by
reclaiming unused urban space and turning it into a thriving community garden. There
has also been a greater consciousness among local residents of principles of organic
gardening, composting, waste management and water conservation that might not have
occurred without the garden project. One member of the garden group summed things
up well: ‘…it was nothing before, just bitumen, nothing just horrible. It used to be very
ugly, awful and dangerous [now] people come to admire the natural beauty of the place’.
[June 2000]
As defined by Newman (1972) defensible space is ‘a model for residential environments which inhibits
crime by creating the physical expression of a social fabric that defends itself’ (p. 3).
Gilles Plains Community Garden
5.4 Articulating a Project Logic for the Community Garden
A project logic offsets out the intended causal chain of a project or program – how its
activitiesa re understood to contribute to a chain of outcomes leading to the final
intended results. (sometimes other labels are used, including ‘program theory’ and
‘intervention logic’ or ‘theory-of-action’. The Gilles Plains Community Garden provides a
useful example of the very different project logic underpinning capacity building projects
compared to direct service delivery projects.
For direct service delivery projects, it is possible and useful to specify particular outputs
and outcomes, and the links between project activities and outcomes.
For capacity building projects, while there are some short-term outcomes for
participants, the most important result is building some capacity for future activity, which
can then be used to achieve broader outcomes for a wider range of participants.
For example, there is evidence that the Gilles Plains community garden has already
contributed to social, economic, environmental, psychological and health outcomes for
Types of outcomes for
participants in community
Examples from the Gilles Plains Community Garden
Social Sense of working together to accomplish something
Sense of belonging
Shared recreation with family
Economic Development of skills and knowledge related to gardening
and plants
Environmental Improved attractiveness of physical environment
Increased awareness of water conservation, waste
management, organic gardening, composting.
Psychological Sense of well-being and satisfaction
Calming atmosphere
Health Improved mental health
Gilles Plains Community Garden
More importantly, the garden has built capacity for further projects and development. It
has contributed to the development of:
Types of capital Examples from the Gilles Plains
Community Garden
Human capital Secondary and TAFE students’ knowledge
of history and culture of the area, biology
and science of plant growth, food
production and preparation
Horticulture skills development of
Economic (including environmental) capital Physical infrastructure of the garden which
allows further developments
Social capital Co-operation between individuals
Encouraging participation in organisations
Institutional capital Development of working group
membership, processes and principles.
Co-operation between organisations
Gilles Plains Community Garden
The project logic diagram which follows shows the project and its outcomes in a cyclic
form – both directly contributing to outcomes for the community, and building capacity of
various types for further activities
. This diagram shows a number of features of the
garden that may have relevance for other capacity building projects:
Capacity consists of several different types of capital – human, economic, social
and institutional
Application of capacity depends on both having capacity developed and an
opportunity to deploy it
Some projects focus on identifying and using existing capital and opportunities,
some begin by developing capital, and some work on both of these strategies at
the same time
Some activities directly lead to enhanced well-being; others are focussed on
building capacity or on increasing opportunities to deploy capacity
There is a cycle of deploying capacity and then undertaking further activities
This diagram has been further developed from the issue paper on ‘Community Capacity
Building’ which has been completed as part of the national evaluation.
Gilles Plains Community Garden
Figure 1: Project logic for the Gilles Plains community garden (as an exemplar of a
community capacity building project)
Gilles Plains Community Garden
5.5 Looking Ahead: Sustainability, Replication & Other Lessons
Sustainability is a concept that means different things to different people in different
situations. The lack of agreement upon what is meant by sustainability can lead to
confusion about what constitutes program sustainability. As a consequence there is the
danger that unrealistic expectations can be placed on some projects to perform beyond
the initial injection of funding.
Sustainability was understood by participants in this study as the capacity of the
community garden to become self-maintaining in some sense so that long-term
achievement of desired benefits can be achieved into the future.
A traditional concern with community gardens is the potential for them to become
neglected due to loss of interest and an inability to attract new gardeners to replace
those who leave:
Low levels of participation threaten the continued existence of community
gardens because it sets up a positive feedback loop – too few participants leads
to poor maintenance which discourages potential gardeners, exacerbating low
participation and an unkempt garden (Russ & Grayson, 2000, p. 9).
The participants in this study cited a number of factors that would help ensure that the
community garden is sustainable into the future, including:
Social capital
A wide range of partnerships that have helped to increase the number of
individuals and agencies who have a stake in the project;
Economic and physical infrastructure
The location of the garden in the middle of a collection of services means that ‘it
is very noticeable and not something that is easily forgotten’;
The garden has been designed to be low-cost and low maintenance. For
example the planting of Indigenous plants that require little attention and
Organisational and economic capital
The involvement of agencies (such as the health service) who are skilled in the
management of community projects and with expertise in attracting future
funding to build on the successes achieved so far (e.g. for the community arts
Building in to the operation of the garden some non-gardening activities such as
community social events, arts and craft, cooking and training workshops.
An issue paper on sustainability which examines these issues is being developed as part of the national
evaluation of the Strategy.
Gilles Plains Community Garden
On the basis of the factors presented above it appears unlikely, at least into the
foreseeable future that the community garden will become neglected. It has been a
community initiated and driven project that will continue to provide a focus for social
interaction and enhance family and community capacity over many years to come.
Drawing on the experiences of this project and guidelines on the development of
community gardens from the literature (see for example Grayson and Campbell, 2003)
the following observations can be made in relation to planning and developing a garden
in other locations:
The most common way to approach the development of a community garden is
from the bottom-up where local residents work together with the support of a few
community professionals who play a constructive role in assisting and guiding the
Some of the key challenges that can be overcome by allowing sufficient time for
planning (at least one year) and community consultation include: finding land;
building credibility and applying for funding; public liability insurance; managing
the site; training gardeners and maintaining interest.
The planning phase should be well coordinated and encompass activities such
as: raising community support through letterbox drops and promotion in local
press and at community events; research into how other successful gardens
operate; agreeing upon the philosophy, purpose and objectives of the project;
articulating timelines; applying for funding; designing the garden (e.g. location,
soil testing and layout); and developing a management plan.
The results from this case study evaluation indicate that communities can take charge,
work together to mobilise existing resources and act strategically to access other
resources to help maintain and enhance individual and collective well-being.
There is also some data to suggest that other groups and organisations in and around
the Gilles Plains area have as a result of the successes and attention given to the
garden project become enthused to try out the community development approach used
by the garden and espoused in the SFCS framework themselves.
Gilles Plains Community Garden
6 References
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on 14/7/03
Armstrong, D. (2000). A survey of community gardens in upstate New York: Implications
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Blair, D., Giesecke, C. & Sherman, S. (1991). A dietary, social and economic evaluation
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Coe, M. L. (1978). Growing with community gardening. The Countryman Press,
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Grayson, R., & Campbell, F. (2000). About Community Gardens: An Evaluation.
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Gilles Plains Community Garden
Grayson, R., & Campbell, F. (2003). Getting Started: Planning and Starting Your
Community Garden. Available at: Accessed on 23/7/03
Gunn, L. (1978). Why is implementation so difficult? Management Services in
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Hering, I. (1995). Gardens that nourish a community. Whitehorse Gazette, 18/10.
Hill, M. (1997). The Policy Process in the Modern State. Prentice Hall: Harvester
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Patton, C. V. (1986). Policy analysis with implementation in mind. In B. Checkoway (ed.)
Strategic Perspectives on Planning Practice. Lexington: Massachusetts.
Phillips, D. (1996). Australian City Farms, Community Gardens and Enterprise Centres:
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Kaplan, R. (1973). Some psychological benefits of gardening, Environment and
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Kuo, F. E., & Sullivan, W. C. (2001). Environment and crime in the inner city: does
vegetation reduce crime? Environment and Behaviour, 33(3), 343-367.
Sabatier, P. & Mazmanian, D. (1979). The conditions of effective implementation: a
guide to accomplishing policy objectives. Policy Analysis, 5, 481-504.
Gilles Plains Community Garden
Schukoske, J. E. (2000). Community development through gardening: state and local
policies transforming urban open space, Legislation and Public Policy, 3, 351-392.
The Gilles Plains Community Project Evaluation Report (2002). Document accessed
through the SFCS database.
The photographs on pages iii, iv, 11, 12, 14, 15 and 26 the captions of which detail some
of the history of the garden were provided by Ms Julie Coulls, Community Development
Worker, Adelaide Central Community Health Service.
All other photographs were taken by the author, Mr Brad Astbury.
Gilles Plains Community Garden
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Conference Paper
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An urban ecosystem is a dynamic system. Therefore, regular monitoring through the use of measurable indicators will enable an assessment of performance and effectiveness. This paper presents a conceptual framework to facilitate the development of an inclusive model for the sustainability assessment of green infrastructure. The framework focuses on key interactions between human health, ecosystem services and ecosystem health. This study reviews existing models for assessing green infrastructure performance and evaluates these models via a range of selection criteria proposed by the authors based on literature review and interviews with stakeholders. This enables derivation of a novel conceptual framework that identifies and brings together the criteria and key indicators. This integrated framework may then be applied to develop a composite indicator-based assessment model to measure and monitor performance of green infrastructure projects and support future studies.
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Although vegetation has been positively linked to fear of crime and crime in a number of settings, recent findings in urban residential areas have hinted at a possible negative relationship: Residents living in "greener" surroundings report lower levels of fear, fewer incivilities, and less aggressive and violent behavior. This study used police crime reports to examine the relationship between vegetation and crime in an inner-city neighborhood. Crime rates for 98 apartment buildings with varying levels of nearby vegetation were compared. Results indicate that although residents were randomly assigned to different levels of nearby vegetation, the greener a building's surroundings were, the fewer crimes reported. Furthermore, this pattern held for both property crimes and violent crimes. The relationship of vegetation to crime held after the number of apartments per building, building height, vacancy rate, and number of occupied units per building were accounted for.
To evaluate the Philadelphia Urban Gardening Project, 144 gardeners were selected from a stratified random sample of garden sites throughout the city. Sixty-seven non-gardening controls were selected from the neighborhoods surrounding these sites. Data collected during home or garden interviews included demographic variables, food frequencies and dietary habits, measures of life satisfaction, and neighborhood involvement. The yield of 151 garden plots was assessed and the economic value calculated, based on retail produce prices. Garden sites yielded an average of $160 worth of produce. Gardeners ate 6 out of 14 vegetable categories significantly more frequently, and milk products, citrus, sweet foods and drinks less frequently. Except for citrus, the reduced gardener consumption remained significant when other key variables were controlled. Gardening was positively associated with community involvement and life satisfaction.
Psychological benefits derived from gardening, a leisure activity intimately involved with the natural environment, are examined. Three areas of benefits (tangible outcomes, primary gardening experiences, and sustained interest) were identified and related to the kind of garden, attitudinal, and role variables. (BL)
Most writing on sociological method has been concerned with how accurate facts can be obtained and how theory can thereby be more rigorously tested. In The Discovery of Grounded Theory, Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss address the equally Important enterprise of how the discovery of theory from data--systematically obtained and analyzed in social research--can be furthered. The discovery of theory from data--grounded theory--is a major task confronting sociology, for such a theory fits empirical situations, and is understandable to sociologists and laymen alike. Most important, it provides relevant predictions, explanations, interpretations, and applications. In Part I of the book, "Generation Theory by Comparative Analysis," the authors present a strategy whereby sociologists can facilitate the discovery of grounded theory, both substantive and formal. This strategy involves the systematic choice and study of several comparison groups. In Part II, The Flexible Use of Data," the generation of theory from qualitative, especially documentary, and quantitative data Is considered. In Part III, "Implications of Grounded Theory," Glaser and Strauss examine the credibility of grounded theory. The Discovery of Grounded Theory is directed toward improving social scientists' capacity for generating theory that will be relevant to their research. While aimed primarily at sociologists, it will be useful to anyone Interested In studying social phenomena--political, educational, economic, industrial-- especially If their studies are based on qualitative data.