The garden complex and its food production potential

Valerie Dewaelheyns (Speaker)

    Activity: Talk or presentationLecture and oral contribution

    Description

    The garden complex (Dewaelheyns et al., 2011) is defined as the green structure that integrates individual domestic gardens, seen from a regional perspective. In Flanders (Belgium), this garden complex, with exclusion of the houses of private lots, covers over 8% of the regional territory and spreads out in urban, peri-urban as well as rural areas. The history of these gardens is closely linked to the history of not only private lifestyles both in urban and rural contexts, but also to the specific urbanization models in the 19th and 20th century. Partial self sufficiency of households was a key target in these models, pursued by food production in the domestic and allotment garden. In the second half of the 20th century residential development was much more linked to increased affordability and mobility, and the average domestic garden evolved from a utility unit to a recreation and display unit. Domestic gardens got more and more absorbed in a privatized context, an evolution that can be placed in the broader societal evolution of individualization, and as a consequence they disappeared from the several policy and research domains they are related to.
    With an increased concern about socio-economic and environmental sustainability and resilience, domestic gardens deserve renewed attention. The garden complex concept makes it possible to reflect in a broad way on the natural resources and potentials that the collectivity of domestic gardens contains, and to integrate them in planning strategies. In this paper, we approach the garden complex from the perspective of food production potential. Next to a brief historical and geographical sketch of the garden complex in Flanders, this paper will take up the methodological challenges to estimate this food potential, and put the theme in the perspective of urban agriculture.
    Reference: Dewaelheyns, V., Bomans, K. & Gulinck, H. (Eds.) (2011). The Powerful Garden. Emerging views on the garden complex. Antwerp, Garant Publishers. 237 p.
    Period1-Apr-20124-Apr-2012
    Event typeOther
    LocationWageningen, Netherlands
    Degree of RecognitionInternational