The Struggle for Eden: Community Gardens in New York City
2002, Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey, Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc.
This study is a portrayal of the political, economic, and cultural history and present of community gardens in a New York City neighborhood, the Lower East Side of Manhattan. An ethnographic study of a particular instance of urban history, it provides a basis for an understanding of urban community gardens in the United States. Beginning with a historical overview of urban community gardening in the United States and other countries, the book concentrates on the last two decades of the 20th century in this portrayal of a social movement that seeks to impact urban environments both in social and economic terms and in terms of ecological dynamics. The 1990s in particular have been critical with regard to the development of a broad network of community-based coalitions acting on behalf of urban community gardens. Internal dynamics and organization of individual gardens must be understood within the specific social, political, and economic context of the Lower East Side and in relationship to the political struggle on behalf of community gardens in that neighborhood and the entire city. Community gardens on the Lower East Side have become critical components in the daily life of urban gardeners, predominantly poor and low-income people.