Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name


Department (Legacy)

School of Education, Interdisciplinary Studies, Environmental Education, Policy & Management

Committee Chair

Dittmer, Allan E.


Gardeners--Kentucky--Louisville--Social conditions; Community gardens--Kentucky--Louisville


Using four surveys, two created by this researcher, another created by Walizcek, Mattson, and Zajicek, and a fourth created by Herbach, the researcher compared the characteristics of community gardeners, their motivations for gardening, and the management practices of the inner-city Limerick Community Garden and the suburban Blackacre Community Garden in Jefferson County, Kentucky. 33 Blackacre gardeners, 16 Limerick gardeners, two garden managers, and two garden administrators participated in the study. The researcher hypothesized that the location of the garden could be influential in determining who the gardeners are and what their motivations for gardening are. The inner-city garden was expected to have a more diverse gardener population than the suburban garden based on census tract data for the two garden locations. In addition, the researcher expected to find marked differences in management of the two gardens based on their location and the fact that one was administered through the city government and the other through the county government. Results indicated that the gardeners who participated in the study are more similar than different. The majority of the gardeners surveyed are white, over age 61, have more than 15 years of gardening experience, and work between one and three days a week in the garden for one to five hours. Additionally, the majority of the gardeners surveyed grow vegetables only and use their food for familial purposes of canning or freezing, giving to family and friends, and feeding their family. Results indicated that the community gardens provide a number of quality-of-life benefits to the gardeners. Physiological aspects of gardening, such as working in the soil, working outside, enjoying the garden colors and smells, and needing the physical exercise, were rated slightly more important for Limerick gardeners than Blackacre gardeners. Social aspects of gardening were rated slightly more important for Blackacre gardeners than Limerick gardeners. Safety in the garden was a more important issue for the inner-city Limerick gardeners than the Blackacre gardeners. Self-esteem aspects of gardening, such as being able to produce one's own food, being proud of one's garden, and being able to create something of beauty, were rated more important for the Limerick gardeners than Blackacre gardeners for both the mean and mode. Gardening for food security was not important for the majority of gardeners surveyed. Gaining a feeling of peace from the garden was important for both Blackacre and Limerick gardeners. Teaching one's children and family to garden received significantly lower ratings than the physiological, safety, social, and esteem categories. It was considered only somewhat important by both Blackacre and Limerick gardeners. Results indicated that the city community gardening program is more of a grass-roots effort, with responsibilities for starting and maintaining gardens coming from the city residents, compared with the county community gardening program, which is more of top-down approach, with responsibilities for starting and managing gardens coming from the county. The two community gardening programs provide similar resources (for example, water, mulch, tilling) to the gardeners, have similar rules and regulations which gardeners must agree to, and fulfill a number of planning-like functions. Results indicated that the land use policies of the two community gardening programs do not provide community garden security.