Update 2- Field Research

Unfortunately, my efforts to find interview participants and conduct in-depth interviews with community gardeners did not pan out as I had hoped. I did have success in finding a garden to volunteer in, however, and am now going to use participant observation as my research method. The garden I am volunteering in is not like a typical community garden where members have individual plots that they take care of alone but is collectively-gardened in the model of a sharing garden. The garden is open to all community members to come in and lend a hand and harvest as they need or want.  Because of the unique style of this garden, I am altering my research focus a little more to look at how this model of garden serves its neighborhood differently from an individual plot-style community garden. Social cohesion, which was the initial interest of my project, will be incorporated into the research a little, alongside other social processes and interactions I observe at the garden. I am also reading some more articles about community gardens as “commons” and am going to look into how the garden serves as a commons for its neighborhood.

Through participant observation I will be interested in seeing what kinds of activities and interactions take place at the garden, how the garden has been successful or struggled, what has impacted its success, and how its model might be adopted in other neighborhoods in Providence or in other cities. I am adding more to my literature review to make it more specific to the sharing garden model and over the next four weeks will be volunteering in the garden, taking field notes, and writing the rest of my paper.

While the field research aspect of my project hasn’t gone as smoothly or quickly as I had hoped, it has definitely been a good learning experience in the realities of researching. With a mapping aspect to my project, a large literature review, and field research, I have really seen many different aspects of the research process this summer.