This programme focused on the role of local community activism in addressing climate change and related challenges faced by urban centres. Following Purcell and Tyman’s (2014) assertion that growing food can be a ‘radical intervention’ in city life, it focused on the creation and development of community gardens and the potential for these initiatives to create synergies for wider environmental change beyond local communities. We proposed that the principles underpinning community gardens (e.g. collaboration, cohesion, shared activity/goals) could be strong drivers to influence behavioural and attitudinal change in the urban environment, both at individual and collective levels. The programme explored how community gardens can create positive impacts for diverse voices to come together in collective action to enhance rights, choices and decisions across the urban environments and reclaim residents’ right to the city (Harvey, 2003).
Through a series of participatory and creative workshops, the programme involved the collaboration of policy-makers, community activists and academic partners from Scotland, Brazil, Portugal, Nepal as well as USA and Kenya. The workshops’ key aim was to build capacity to influence individual and collective changes that can mobilise local communities to be more active to address environmental challenges – such as reuse of organic waste, production of food and strengthened links with wider urban issues that impact on most vulnerable groups. Access to diverse international experiences helped local initiatives to consider novel approaches and better connect local issues with international challenges. The focus was on how community gardens can be catalysts for wider community mobilisation on environmental issues.
Illustration from final report by Daisy MacGowan