What factors support and promote home-based food-growing in four neighbourhoods in SW Sheffield?

Monday, 4 May 2009

Further Research Suggested

I produced my own data. As economic stability was quickly eroding and census data would have been unreliable, I did not look at census derived demographic data of the neighbourhoods.

There was very little research to be found regarding home-based food-growing in northern England. Literature review undertaken related primarily to urban agriculture and the relationship of the food system to energy, GHG emissions and health. This was to establish context and rationale for my research and conclusions.

Though studies do indicate urban agriculture improves food security within vulnerable households,

“An output indicator … such as ‘increased backyard production of food’ cannot be assumed to automatically improve household food security or better diet;” (RUAF 2001 p. 24)

Research that follows homegrown produce from garden to eater would be of great value. Understanding to what degree homegrown food supplants fast food or food sourced from supermarkets might help health professionals and council members to better support gardeners.

Several other questions come to mind when contemplating follow up research;

1.What percentage of growers in a socially functional neighbourhood creates a self-perpetuating movement that can sustain itself through turnover and economic vagaries? Would that number fall or rise based on the degree of social activity or community activism?
2. What is the extent of the risk posed by contaminated soil in Sheffield?
3. To what degree do my results apply to other neighbourhoods in Sheffield? Are the majority of home-based food growers in wider Sheffield well educated? Are their motivations the same as my cohort’s? What about nationwide?
4. How does having children in the household influence the decision to grow food?
5. What can be done to provide more allotments and make them a more reasonable proposition for the average householder?

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