Reciprocity: Cultivating Community in Urban Agriculture

Publication Date

April 2015


Anu (Aradhana) Sharma




English (United States)


"Reciprocity: Cultivating Community in Urban Agriculture" is an exploration of how community, identity, and belonging interact in urban agricultural spaces. My hands-on fieldwork with East New York Farms! serves as a case study for examining urban agriculture as a political project. Through melding creative non-fiction, feminist theory, community politics, and environmental studies, the intention of "Reciprocity" is to provide a framework for understanding the various social, natural, socioeconomic, and political factors that shape community-making within urban agriculture. My thesis is divided into three sections: "Seed," "Transplant," and "Harvest." In "Seed," I trace the significances of using ecofeminism as a personal entry point into urban agriculture, the relationship between non-profit work and collectivist organizations, and the nuances of ethnographic endeavors. In "Transplant," I tease apart notions of rootedness, disjunctures in the process of coming into community, and the politics of collectivist organization. In "Harvest," I examine farmers' markets and urban restoration projects, as well as the importance of recognizing multiple narratives in our approach to urban agriculture. By following these farming metaphors to fruition, "Reciprocity" illuminates how communities are perpetually reworked and reinvented in the present.

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