Self-provisioning, Sustainability and Environmental Consciousness in Brno Allotment Gardens

Behavioural Views in Environmentalism

This paper seeks to contribute to the topic of alternative food production, which has attracted the attention of both scholars and practitioners in the last years, together with the increasingly stronger critique of the current food system. In the past, allotment gardens played an important role in cities’ food self-sufficiency, however they are often omitted from the current food production debate. In the Czech Republic, as well as other Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, food selfprovisioning is still widespread. Traditional practices, often burdened with rather negative connotations from the socialist era, are nowadays interacting with the efforts of the local food movement and urban gardening trends rediscovered in Western Europe. Based on research from allotment gardens at Kraví hora, Brno, this paper investigates the socio-economic and environmental facets of the selfprovisioning of fruits and vegetables within this specific context and its relation to alternative food networks, reflecting on Smith and Jehlička’s notion of “quiet sustainability”. The different uses of allotments are described, as are the functions and needs they fulfil. Using the method of consumer diaries, the presented research aims to quantify the amount of fruits and vegetables produced at Kraví hora. Furthermore, gardeners’ motivations and their level of environmental consciousness are outlined. The respondents’ declared relationship towards nature is contrasted with their respective attitudes and behaviour patterns towards the natural environment. The conclusion is that allotment gardens not only improve the urban environment and provide space for community building in cities, but they also offer significant potential for food provisioning, which can be supported within the framework of alternative food networks and urban sustainability.

Klíčová slova:
allotment gardens; urban agriculture; alternative food networks; quiet sustainability; food self-provisioning

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