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Informal Urban Agriculture: The Secret Lives of Guerrilla Gardeners

  • First major critical evaluation of guerrilla gardening in the UK
  • Responds to increasing concerns for local food production and food security
  • Urban agriculture, such as guerrilla gardening, could improve many spaces – large and small – in every town or city

Series: Urban Agriculture

By: Michael Hardman(Author), Peter J Larkham(Author)

218 pages, 34 colour & 1 b/w illustrations


Hardback | Oct 2014 | #219692 | ISBN-13: 9783319095332
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1 week Details
NHBS Price: £135.00 $173/€147 approx

About this book

Informal Urban Agriculture explores how unused and under-used urban spaces – from grass verges, roundabouts, green spaces – have been made more visually interesting and more productive, by informal (and usually illegal) groups known as "guerrilla gardeners". Informal Urban Agriculture focuses on groups in the English Midlands but the work is set in a broad international context and reveals how and why they undertake this illegal activity.

Guerrilla gardening is usually viewed uncritically and promoted as a worthwhile activity: this study provides a more balanced evaluation and focuses on its contribution in terms of local food production.



Chapter 1. Guerrilla Urban Agriculture: Unearthing the Hidden Movement
Urban Agriculture and Guerrilla Gardening
Exploring the Movement
Overview of the Book: Why Guerrilla Gardening?
Approaching the Research: Working with Guerrillas

Chapter 2. Cultivating the City
Nature and Cities
From Survival to Niche: Reflecting on Food Growing in the Global North
Everyday UA: Allotments, Community Gardens and Emerging Spaces of Production
Should UA be Encouraged? Exploring Local Food Criticisms
The Roots of Informal UA

Chapter 3. Unearthing the Unpermitted Movement
Introduction: Informal Action in the Urban
Guerrilla Gardening: The Rise of Radical Agriculture
Why Choose the ‘Illegal’ Route? Reasons for Guerrilla Gardening

Chapter 4. On the Ground with Guerrillas: An Ethnographical Reflection
Researching Guerrilla Gardeners
A First-Hand Personal Reflection: Interacting with Guerrillas on the Ground
Is Guerrilla Gardening Illegal?
Interacting with the Guerrillas: An Ethnographic Reflection on the Action
The Stories of F Troop and the WG: Key Messages

Chapter 5. Deconstructing the Key Messages: Analysing F Troop and the Women’s Group
Reviewing Practice
Summarising F Troop’s Actions: Unpacking the Digs
Maintaining the UA Site
F Troop and the Wider Guerrilla Movement
Legitimisation: The Ultimate Path for F Troop?
F Troop: Questioning the Group’s Future UA Ambitions
The Women’s Group: Unconscious Guerrilla Gardeners?
Food and the WG: Transforming Urban Greenspace for UA
The WG and the Wider Guerrilla Movement

Chapter 6. Who Owns this Space? Authorities and Guerrilla Gardeners
Introduction: Contesting the Ownership of Space
Challenging Conventional Practice: Is UA Suitable for the Two Sites?
(Re)Imagining Urban Space: The Adoption of an Illegal Route
Hidden Sites: Over-Bureaucracy and the Failure to Notice Change
Unlawful Action under the Noses of Authority: Implications of the Illegal Route
Working with Guerrillas: Constructing a Future with Authority

Chapter 7. Exploring Impact: Consulting Actors Surrounding Guerrilla Gardening Sites
Questioning the Impact of Guerrilla Gardening
Assessing the Impact of Unregulated UA
The Community and F Troop: Deconstructing the Relationship
Reflecting on The WG: The Community Garden…A Place for the Community?
Critically Assessing Guerrilla Practice
Who Benefits from the UA? Summarising the Impact of the Guerrilla Action
Concluding Remarks: The Emergence of a ‘Guerrilla Trap’

Chapter 8. Guerrilla Gardeners, Urban Agriculture, Food and the Future
Reflecting on the Case Studies
Future Research: Observing Guerrillas in the Wild
The Wider Relevance of this Book


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