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Open AccessArticle

Sustainable Community Gardens Require Social Engagement and Training: A Users’ Needs Analysis in Europe

1
Department of Vegetable Production (ETSIA), Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena, Paseo Alfonso XIII 48, 30203 Cartagena, Spain
2
Research Centre in Urban Environment for Agriculture and Biodiversity (ResCUE-AB), Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences (Distal), Alma Mater Studiorium-University of Bologna, Viale Fanin 44, 40127 Bologna, Italy
3
Department of Agricultural Economics, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin, Germany
4
ILS—Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development, Brüderweg 22-24, 44135 Dortmund, Germany
5
Centre for Rural Development, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin, Germany
6
Department of Environmental Education and Education for Sustainable Development, Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development, Schicklerstraße 5, 16225 Eberswalde, Germany
7
Department of Vegetable and Mushroom Growing, Corvinus University of Budapest, Fővám tér 8, 1093 Budapest, Hungary
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These three authors equally contributed to the manuscript.
Sustainability 2019, 11(14), 3978; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143978
Received: 13 June 2019 / Revised: 16 July 2019 / Accepted: 19 July 2019 / Published: 23 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Agriculture)
Urban gardens are spreading in many cities across Europe, with community gardening being a fundamental form of urban agriculture. While the literature reveals the essential role that community gardens can play in terms of learning and education, no studies have investigated the training needs for participants in community gardens to ensure their successful development. The goal of this article is to evaluate the training requirements of urban community gardens to ensure their successful implementation and their contribution to sustainability in European cities. Two questionnaires of users’ needs analysis were designed and implemented in Berlin, Bologna, Budapest, and Cartagena. The results unveiled the need to re-enforce the training in the formation and community building phases of community gardens towards ensuring the creation of an engaged gardening community to maintain activity, particularly for top-down activities (e.g., research-related gardens). Users claimed their need for being trained on crop management skills (e.g., maintenance, bed preparation, organic practices) and on communication skills to further disseminate their activity, thereby increasing the potential for citizen engagement. Such requirements could be overcome with the creation of urban gardens networks, where experiences and knowledge are shared among practitioners. Policy recommendations are provided based on the outputs of this study. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban agriculture; community gardening; training; community building; urban planning; knowledge; lifelong learning urban agriculture; community gardening; training; community building; urban planning; knowledge; lifelong learning
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Ochoa, J.; Sanyé-Mengual, E.; Specht, K.; Fernández, J.A.; Bañón, S.; Orsini, F.; Magrefi, F.; Bazzocchi, G.; Halder, S.; Martens, D.; Kappel, N.; Gianquinto, G. Sustainable Community Gardens Require Social Engagement and Training: A Users’ Needs Analysis in Europe. Sustainability 2019, 11, 3978.

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