Amy Coplen

Amy Coplen

2011 Urban Fellow

Research Topic: Urban Agriculture

Faculty Advisor: Karen Hebert

Cultivating Commnity: Bulding Cohesion and Forging Identities in New Haven's Community Gardens

This research explores the ways in which community gardeners value their participation in New Haven’s community gardens and the processes through which they build community cohesion. Thought eight ethnographic interview and participant observation in six gardens I explore how gardeners value interaction with those from diverse backgrounds and cultures. The stories of these gardeners indicate that community gardens build community cohesion by facilitating cross-cultural exchange, creating networks for knowledge and resource sharing, and establishing new identities for immigrant and transplant populations. In some case, these processes cut across age groups, education backgrounds, and income levels. This research demonstrates that community gardens can serve as a vehicle for building community cohesion across cultural divides.