Good home-grown food? A relational approach to kitchen gardening

Maria Schörgenhumer

Publications: Contribution to bookContribution to proceedings


Gardens have been serving as an important source of food through the ages and cultures. Yet, in agriculture-centred accounts of food, gardening – restricted to insignificantly small patches of land and personal preferences – seems not to matter. This paper argues that the idea of the garden should not be disregarded when it comes to ‘food futures’ exactly because the small-scale scope proves valuable. The first section of the paper highlights the specific features of the garden/gardening in contrast to agriculture. Not only does the small-scale setting of a protected space of nature under intensive personal care allow for an interesting diversity of plants and cultivation styles; the practice of kitchen gardening also shapes, or even reconfigures, peoples’ relations to food and to nature more generally. In the second section, the ethical implications of this are analysed in terms of a) environmental virtues, b) autonomy and responsibility, c) valuing food. Finally, applying a realistic, non-idealising perspective, the significance of ‘growing your own food’ in the garden is clarified by contesting the idea of self-sufficiency.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFood futures
Subtitle of host publication ethics, science and culture ; EurSafe 2016, Porto, Portugal, 29 September - 1 October 2016
EditorsI. Anna Olsson
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-8686-834-6
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 603103 Ethics


  • philosophy of gardening
  • environmental virtues
  • value of food
  • autonomy
  • care
  • Growing Green

    Angela Kallhoff (Organiser) & Maria Schörgenhumer (Organiser)

    24 Mar 20159 Jun 2015

    Activity: Academic eventsOrganisation of ...

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