Contextual Research of Community Gardens in Savannah


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Contextual Research of Community Gardens in Savannah

  1. 1. 1 SOULS feed our with more SOULS THANTHANfood An ethnographic study on the Savanah’s Community Garden Culture Fall 2013
  2. 2. 2 Introduction The Team Objective Research Questions Secondary Research Primary Research Insight Report Conclusion Apendix TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction 3 6 The Team 4 14 Objective 5 21 Research Questions 5 45 47 Secondary Research Primary Research Insight Report Conclusion Appendix
  3. 3. 3 INTRODUCTION Introducing gardens as a shared, communal concept is an emerging trend, especially in urban areas. These community gardens use their space efficiently by providing a location for many people to accomplish their goals by participating in nature-based activities. Communities have found the collaboration to be enriching and the creation of local food sources as beneficial to its members. The City of Savannah contains many styles of community gardens and approved the Savannah Community Garden Initiative in July of 2012. Inspired by interest in using a vacant, city lot for a community garden, this program establishes a method for city residents to create a contract with the city to use its land for gardening purposes.
  4. 4. 4 Priscila Mendoza MFA Design Management Favorite Vegetable/Fruit: Avocado Alice Li MFA Industrial Designt Favorite Vegetable/Fruit: Carrot Jorie Ballum MA Design for Sustainability Favorite Vegetable/Fruit: Orange Bell Pepper Farid Sandeghi MFA Design Management Favorite Vegetable/Fruit: Cabbage Han Tian MFA Industrial Design Favorite Vegetable/Fruit: Cauliflower THE TEAM The research team consists of graduate students from varying majors that attend the Savannah College of Art and Design.
  5. 5. 5 OBJECTIVE RESEARCH QUESTIONS The objective of the research is to understand the community garden culture of Savannah and to explore the status of the Savannah Community Garden Initiative. The end goal of the project is to form insights from the research, discover opportunities for the gardens, and design solutions to take advantage of those opportunities. What is the Community Garden culture in Savannah? How do you evaluate a Community Garden? What activities does a Community Garden involve? What are the goals of a Community Garden? How does the S.C.G.I. work? (policy-wise)
  6. 6. 6 SECONDARYSECONDARY research
  7. 7. 7 It was important to figure out what components make up a community garden and what participating concepts make the system work. Collecting information about the outside influences was also vital in explaining the organization of the gardens. With this information, it was possible to depict what exactly a community garden is. WHAT
  8. 8. 8 A “community” garden implies multi-party involvement, so mapping out the participants was essential for understanding the human aspect of a garden. The parties that could be directly or indirectly affected by the garden’s success or failure were labeled as ‘stakeholders’ and those who stood to benefit directly from the garden’s services were noted as ‘beneficiaries.’ Documenting this information provides an insight into who the garden may impact and to whom it is important. WHO
  9. 9. 9 Plan for Starting a Community Garden It is easy to observe a community garden to see how the different types of collaborative efforts work, but how did the gardens get there in the first place? This motivation to understand the sprouting of the garden structures led to discovering a process full of many considerations and areas for unique circumstances to arise. HOW General Establish Local Interest Participants Organizations/Programs Sponsors/Supports Community Need1 Plan Out Technical Details Secure land and leasing/ownership details Funding Liabilities Sunlight and water availability 2 Establish Management Eligibility and roles of participants Budgeting/Payments Designate a “garden champion” Plan out strategies and education 3 Prepare the Garden 4 Clean up the space and test the soil for contaminants and nutrients or build the raised beds Create a layout of the garden Determine the required materials for construction and maintenance Plan out the types of plants and care schedules
  10. 10. 10 Creating a community garden under the SCGI requires a specific method of planning because using a city-owned lot presents liabilities for the city of Savannah. Decoding the formal procedure was essential for identifying key concerns in the process and for looking for city-resident interfacing opportunities. HOW IN SAVANNAH Submit Initial Application 1 Optional Steps 3 Review “Policy and User Agreement” Fill Out “Application for Use” Write “Letter of Intent” Composting Plan Type of Fencing Qualifying Applications If Applicable Upon Approval 2 Provide Further Materials Signed “Policy and User Agreement ” Evidence of Neighborhood Support Drawing of Proposed Layout List of Building Materials Schedule of proposed Fee Signed FEMA Form Prepare the Garden 4 Adhere to Rules Build! Plan for Starting a Community Garden In Savannah
  11. 11. 11 To understand when community gardens are implemented, both historical and cultural perspectives were explored. Apart from individual or group interest, certain sets of circumstances and events lead to the development of gardens, making the universal themes of the process apparent. WHEN 1890 190 0 1920 1930 194 0 1970 20 10 20 0 0 WWI & WWII E C O N O M IC A L C R ISIS B E A U TIFU L C ITY M O V E M E N T E C O N O M IC A L & SO C IA L C R ISIS W A R & V IC TO R Y G A R D E N C A M PA IN G S E N V IR O N M E N TA L A W A K E N IN G E C O N O M IC A L C R ISIS E N V IR O N M E N TA L C R ISIS FO O D SU P P LY SC A R C ITY INCREASE IN COMMUNITY GARDENS DECREASE COMMUNITY GARDENS ECONOMY SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT POLITICS FOOD ACCESSIBILITY GREEN INITIATIVE UNEMPLOYMENT COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT INTEREST IN COMMUNITY GARDENING - + + + + + + +
  12. 12. 12 As users experience gardens in different ways, a map of the potential motivations for participating in community gardening was generated from reviews and case studies of various gardens. The collection of activities associated with the gardens frames the ideal garden situation and serves as a comparative tool for evaluating and defining actual gardens later on. WHYRehabilitation Healthy Organic Produce Good Nutrition Food Accessibility Social Programs Saving Money Recreation Green Space Increase Education Volunteering Building Community Neighborhood Appearance Community Improvement Self Empowerment Exercising Learning Skills Community Collaborating Gardening Sharing Socializing Eating Produce Enjoy Nature Throwing Events B E N E F I T S Community Gardens B E N E F I T S A C T I V I T I E S
  13. 13. 13 It was imperative to delve into the characteristics of Savannah that potentially play roles in starting gardens. This grasp of the context of the culture and specific trends could unlock potential opportunities for design intervention as well as gauge the perception of community gardens in the area. WHY SAVANNAH SAVANNAH COMMUNITY GARDEN INITIATIVE GARDEN TRADITION VACANT LOTS Squares Urban Planning Tourism 5.3 % of total parcels are vacant FEMA program (flooding areas) CRIME RATE Violent crime rate generally higher than national average
  14. 14. 14 P R I M A R Y research P R I M A R Y
  15. 15. 15 To understand the culture and context of community gardening in savannah, the research team went out into the community to obtain first-hand experiences and gather personal knowledge from the residents of savannah.
  16. 16. 16 OBSERVATION SELFREPORT INTERVIEW The primary research data was collected using combinations of observational techniques, self- reporting by garden participants, and structured interviews of people with different relationships to community gardens. Observation activities: side- line examinations of the gardens, shadowing sessions of the garden participants, and informal conversations Self-reporting activities: expressive activities, creative projects, and micro-journaling Interviewing activities: guided conversations that focused on answering the research questions.
  17. 17. 17 Individuals City Property Taxes Vacant Lots Contamination Raised beds Regulations Permanent Structures FEMA Compost pays for set’s up ask for land to can become contributeandtake Institutions are owned by can be part of mighthave causes are prohibited prohibited control requires should be set’s up leads to the use of requires sources require canprovide goes to goes to requires canbenefit $ Resources Volunteers Plants & Seeds Soil Tools Grants Donations Community Purchasing Food Needy Professionals Garden lovers Student Organic Seniors Supplies Chemicals In the research process, concepts and relationships are brainstormed and explored. Illustrating the system of community gardening led to a visualization and exploration of relationships, which helped to accentuate the areas of the map that required further inspection. SYSTEMS MAP “The vacant lot was full of weeds... so I said, let’s do it! let’s turn it into a community garden!” “The garden is organic in the sense of we don’t use that much chemicals, but we are not certified organic.” “Gardening is a team” -Barbara E., Garden Manager Ben L. Garden Manager Francis A. Garden Manager “There has been one hundred years of decomposing musket balls and cannon balls in the soil – it’s dreadful!” -Victoria C., Landscape Designer “Buying quality soil was the best choice SCAD made. It covers a lot of sins.” -Ben B., SCAD Gardener
  18. 18. 19 The primary research was sorted and consolidated on an Affinity Wall, which is a tool to cluster data together to form insights from the resulting themes. Overarching trends surfaced from the multiple layers of data clustering and helped the team identify opportunities for improvement with design. AFFINITY WALL
  19. 19. 20 I. DEEP SATISFACTION • Community gardening helps us explore personal and deeps connections • Gardening offers benefits more meaningful than food II. LEARNING AND ADAPTING • We adapt to the local gardening circumstances and needs • Our interpretation of “organic” is unclear and challenging • Our gardens are works in progress III. CLEAR COMMUNICATION • We are aware of some methods of communication, but we could use them more • Ownership is not always well defined in our gardens and may cause issues IV. CITY RELATIONS • We like the SCGI, but we would like more help/ support or a better understanding of • A better explanation of policies would benefit us V. SPREAD INSPIRATION • We are highly motivated and we act upon that (garden starters) • Sometimes we struggle to maintain consistent man power VI. PART IN CULTURE • Community gardening allows us to extend our “home space” enjoyment to outside • Gardeners find each other because it is a unique culture VII. REACHING OUT • We like our food to contribute to the community • Community gardening can allow us to create city-wide synergies and networks from effectively their involvement space in the neighborhood help sources VIII. HIERARCHY LEARNING • Our methods of governing our gardens is a balance between structure and flexibility • We need to work on spreading our knowledge and leadership skills IX. PERSONAL SACRIFICES • We also devote our money to gardening • Gardening requires a large investment of our spare time • Community Outreach • Gardening fosters our community development • Our gardens impact uninvolved people too Data was clustered into groups, which formed categories, and presented universal topics for community gardening. The approach allowed for an objective view of the gathered research and presented the team with subject spaces to form insights in. UNIVERSAL TOPICS
  20. 20. 21 I N S I G H T report I N S I G H T
  21. 21. 22 From the data-inspired, universal topics, the team noticed insights that presented opportunities for change. Specific avenues were considered in each and the team formed design ideas to bring those possibilities to life. Each insight is described, explored, and followed by its corresponding data.
  22. 22. 23 Insight .DESIGN IDEAS. HOW MIGHT WE The act of gardening offers more opportunities than just creating food. The beauty, community, sharing, and learning enrich lives and bring a sense of joy. • Develop networks for help? • Find a way to provide food to the needy? • Promote enjoying nature? • Use gardens as expression spaces? • Promote starting meaningful relationship? • Promote physical health? FEED OUR WITH MORE FOOD SOULS THAN 1. Directory of the garden managers with garden masters. 2. Inviting schools to have activities on the community garden (such as games). 3. Organize weekly yoga tour. OPPORTUNITIES there is an opportunity to: Foster meaningful growth on a community and personal level 1
  23. 23. 25 OPPORTUNITIES HOW MIGHT WE Savannah has its own unique climate,weather,health standards and soil issues, and it it vital for gardeners to understand them and work within those constrains. there is an opportunity to: Develop an information bank about local gardening • Connect knowledgeable people with novices? • Recognize knowlegeable people? • Teach gardeners to thrive in the local situation? • Have an active community garden culture all year long? LANGUAGE LOCAL LAW of the 1. Savannah community garden manual. 2. Provide information on how to prepare or use the seasonal food. 3. Gardening tourism opportunity. 4. Welcome kit with local gardening tips and local plants. Insight .DESIGN IDEAS. 2
  24. 24. 27 OPPORTUNITIES TALK WALK there is an opportunity to: Make each garden’s regulations or desires explicit and visible • Express the garden to participants and outsiders? • Develop sustainable systems to run the gardens? • Communicate and share garden news? Community gardens involve a lot of people so communication about rules, ownership and collaboration should be established and maintained in an approachable manner. WITH ME WITH ME 1. Create artwork showing the ripe versions of plants and proper garden etiquette. 2. Develop universal signage to show garden’s regulations. 3. For network communication, try a photo contest and monthly activity competition with prizes. 4. Have a posting board in local garden shops to share news and show products in action. Insight HOW MIGHT WE .DESIGN IDEAS. 1
  25. 25. 29 OPPORTUNITIES CITY HALL TO BRAWL there is an opportunity to: Clearly communicate the city’s involvement and role in the program • Promote and advertise the initiative more? • Introduce user’s feedback into the policy? • Explain the reasons behind the policy limitations? • Cooperate with other city programs? The city of Savannah set up the SCGI in order to make dreams come true, so eliminating any negative feelings or misunderstandings is a must. ISN’T LOOKING 1. Awareness campaign for the program. 2. Create an infographic that illustrates the city relationship during the application process that shows who to contact for what and when you can expect help. 3. Create a safety bulletin that describes the concerns behind all of the regulations. Insight HOW MIGHT WE .DESIGN IDEAS. 1
  26. 26. 31 OPPORTUNITIES There are highly motivated people and people with wavering interest involved in community gardens; finding a balance or transfering that spirit would be helpful. COULD SPREAD there is an opportunity to: Share knowledge and keep volunteers enthusiastic • Spread planting knowledge? • Recruit and retain volunteers? • Spread enthusiasm? IF INSPIRATION LIKE GERMS 1. Reward system. 2. Set up a program to teach gardening basics as they pertain to certain interest groups. 3. Exchange groups of volunteers – help at the book drive or for a race to get help at a garden day event – and promote both groups at each event. Insight , n HOW MIGHT WE .DESIGN IDEAS. 1
  27. 27. 33 OPPORTUNITIES ARE ALL FRIENDS there is an opportunity to: Get to know your community • Involve the neighbors? • Network with other gardens? • Be able to develop the culture in Savannah further? WE HERE Gardening is its own culture and it brings people together in their common interests and enjoyments. Public gardens make it easier for people to find each other. 1. App or website for network to involve neighbors to be aware of location of each community garden. 2. Facebook page to communication in better way. 3. Create a “Garden Tour” event program to swing by each garden or have every weekend celebrate each garden. Insight HOW MIGHT WE .DESIGN IDEAS. 2
  28. 28. 35 OPPORTUNITIES The produce from and functions of the garden can be linked to outside community organizations to benefit both parties. STARTS HAND there is an opportunity to: Connect resource and idea stream through gardening • Get familiar with community resources? • Take advantafe of the social benefits of gardening? • Promote tool sharing? • Take advantage of other people’s extra stuff? • Offer access to professional aid? AND WE WILL REACH FOR THE THEM TO YOU 1. Create SCGI discount card. 2. Post the needs of the garden (tools, soil, man power, seeds, etc.) and offer things in exchange. 3. Produce swap – bring an item and get a vegetable. 4. Student design contests to make project plans and then reward students with recommendation letters or proof of experience. Insight HOW MIGHT WE .DESIGN IDEAS. 1
  29. 29. 37 OPPORTUNITIES Some gardeners have a lot of knowledge, some have a lot of leadership skills, and every garden needs those. SHARING CARING there is an opportunity to: Establish a mentorship culture • Pass along gardening tips? • Collect knowledge in a tangible form? • Motive people to share their skills and knowledge? • Foster leadership training? • Make gardening in Savannah more approachable? BRAIN OF GARDEN 1. Mentor starter for beginners. 2. Organization of workshops by the City of Savannah or SUGA. 3. Starter kit for beginners. 4. Time capsule project – capture the garden culture, add from past, save for future. Insight HOW MIGHT WE .DESIGN IDEAS. 2
  30. 30. 39 OPPORTUNITIES Community gardeners invest a lot of their time and money into gardens that they share with the other workers, neighbors, etc., and they may not expect something back, but they might not mind! SHARE WEAR there is an opportunity to: Share the effort and cost associated with gardening. • Attract sponsors? • Assign available help to needy gardens? • Attract volunteers that are needed? • Distribute the responsibility? THE 1. Weakly brain sharing meeting to share the ideas and talent. 2. Create a sponsorship program where people can contribute money or supplies and receive updates on programs and charity activities. 3. Post a swap board to trade excess volunteers, tools, produce etc for things your garden needs. Insight HOW MIGHT WE .DESIGN IDEAS. 1
  31. 31. 41 OPPORTUNITIES Gardens in the neighborhood bring people together to either directly interact or enjoy the same things from afar. SEEDS LOVE there is an opportunity to: Have widerspread interaction within a community • Increase community awareness of  the garden? • Develop varying levels of participation? • Communicate exstence of the garden? • Promote the garden as a social space for the community? SOW OF Insight HOW MIGHT WE .DESIGN IDEAS. 1 1. Create a “Garden Tour” event program to swing by each garden. 2. Ask neighbors that surround the garden to take a picture of their view of it from their window and make a photo display that shows the surrounding view. 3. Host local art shows in the gardens or picnics, music lessons.
  32. 32. 43 OPPORTUNITIES The gardens are all works in progress and communication and celebration of that varies. CAUTION! there is an opportunity to: Express and contribute to the continuing garden development • Communicate the status of garden projects to outsiders? • Collect community ideas for garden development? • Connect with outside help to ahieve garden goals? • Spread encouragement for finishing projects? UNDER CONSTRUCTION 1. Visual timelines that document garden progress with pictures. 2. Post representations of goals so it is visible to the public and people may walk by and be able to help. 3. “Garden dreams” board in a shop or café to get people thinking about the projects and pique their curiosity/helping. Insight HOW MIGHT WE .DESIGN IDEAS. 1
  33. 33. 45 The contextual research and data management processes employed in this project identified key components in the community garden culture of Savannah, as well as in the status of the Savannah Community Garden Initiative. The insights formed helped identify opportunities for positive change in the system and the team addressed these prospects with potential design ideas that adhere to the perceived context and attempt to bolster the success of the gardens. CONCLUSIONS
  35. 35. 47 A P P E N D I X the process A P P E N D I X
  36. 36. 48 Secondary Research 1. Visit to Georgia’s Historical Society 2. Concept, Flow, and Process Maps 3. Structuring our data for midterm presentation 4. Five W’s for synthesizing and presenting our secondary research 1 2 3 43 3
  37. 37. 49 Observation Shadowing sessions 1. SCAD 2. Tybee Island 3. Moses Jackson Advancement Center 4. MetroStart 5. StarFish 6. Growing Edge 1 2 4 5 6 3
  38. 38. 50 War walls from observations Observation
  39. 39. 51 Initial Synthesis on observations 1. Actor Network Map 2. Research Question exercise Synthesis 1 1 2 2 2 2 2
  40. 40. 52 Designing and Testing our probes. 1. Food Day Cultural Probe’s Sketches 2. Food Day Brochure 3. Our Probes in action! Cultural Probes 1 2 2 2 2 1 3 3 3 3 3
  41. 41. 53 Interviews 1. Carol Greenberg (Midtown Miracle Community Garden) 2. Cody Simpson, Kelsie Flanagan (SCAD Community Garden) 3. Francis Allen (StarFish Community Garden) 4. Ben Ligenfelter (Jackson Mosses Advacement Center’s Garden) 1 2 3 4
  42. 42. 54 1. Making sense of chaos. • Clustering 1 (From yellow to blue) • Clustering 2 (From blue to pink) • Clustering 3 (From pink to green) 2. Identifying Insights 3. Coffee helps! Affinity Process 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 3
  43. 43. 55 Methods of Contextual Research | IDUS-711-02 | Prof. Sara Johnson | Fall 2013