Growing With Lady Flower Gardens: Governance in a Land-based Initiative Focused on Building Community, Well-being and Social Equity Through Food
Keywords:Governance, Food Justice, Local Food Initiatives, Local Food Systems, Community Gardens, Social Resilience, Ecological Resilience
The local food sector has been gaining strong momentum in the province of Alberta but inclusiveness, social equity, and affordability remain issues of concern. Lady Flower Gardens (LFG) is a community-based initiative that is working to address these issues. Established in 2012 on private land in the northeast edge of Edmonton, Alberta, LFG provides opportunities for marginalized and disadvantaged individuals to develop skills in growing food for their own consumption, contribute a share of the harvest to the Edmonton Food Bank, and develop relationships and build community in a healthy and safe environment. LFG collaborates with a number of social service agencies and two universities in the development of this land-based, experiential learning model. In this case study we examine LFG’s evolving governance structure, from a small informal grassroots initiative to a self-governed Part 9 non-profit company, registered with the provincial government. We gathered data from in-depth semi-structured interviews as well through site visits, participant observation and documentary research. Our analysis uses a food justice lens and the Policy Arrangement Approach as adapted by Van der Jagt et al. (2017) to examine LFG’s actors, partnerships and participation, resources, discourse, and rules. Investigating these dimensions of LFG provides insights into the complexity of factors, both internal and external, that have influenced the development and governance of this local food initiative and its ability to contribute to inclusiveness, social equity, and food justice. Our research reveals that LFG aligns strongly with FLEdGE’s good food principles of food access and ecological resilience, while also intersecting with the principle of farmer livelihoods through the creation of new training opportunities.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Ashley M. Roszko, Mary A. Beckie
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