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Urban agriculture in San Diego: Garden characteristics, practices, and environmental outcomes
Scurlock, Alyson Nicole
Marcelli, HilaryPérez, Ramona L.
Because most of our world’s population now lives in urban areas, cities are faced with the challenge of rising food demands and heavy reliance on imported food. One increasingly global popular trend is the incorporation of urban agriculture into cities as a local food production system with the aim of fostering health, food justice, and environmental sustainability. In San Diego County alone, there are over 100 existing urban agriculture sites with several under development. Although there are numerous claims stating the wide-reaching benefits of urban agriculture, there is currently little to no information on the capacity of local ecosystems to support it. This research quantifies both beneficial and stressor environmental outcomes of urban agriculture through a mixed methods approach that included semi-structured interviews with garden managers, administration of a two-week quantitative research study where gardeners reported data on individual garden inputs and crop yields, and fieldwork at six gardens. My results demonstrate that outcomes are linked with specific garden characteristics (organizational structures and missions) and practices (irrigation type and cultivation infrastructure) at each site, with garden organizational structures and missions generally having a greater influence on outcomes due to irrigation types and cultivation infrastructure commonly being influenced by garden goals. These results can aid in providing insight on best management practices and sustainable implementation strategies for community gardens in arid regions.
Arts and Letters
San Diego State University
Master of Science (M.S.) San Diego State University, 2019
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