I am pleased to announce the release of the E-book version of The Struggle for Eden: Community Gardens in New York City. I am happy to be able to make this book, originally released only as a hardcover, available to a wider audience. This book is a portrayal of the political, economic, and cultural history 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.
In these dark times, faced with a mind-numbing number of lives lost and a devastating economic impact on the entire country, we are painfully aware of ever increasing socio-economic disparities and the reality that those most vulnerable among us suffer the most due to the effects of a country in lockdown.
Confronted with shuttered store windows and eerily quiet cityscapes, we should think about ways in which our urban environments can be strengthened in times to come. There are lessons in recent history that help us to reimagine what an urban environment could be in the future.
Few initiatives in an urban context are more inspiring than urban community gardens, many of which were built literally on top of rubble in neighborhoods struggling to survive. Community gardens in cities all over the United States have helped to revitalize neighborhoods, have created places for families and children, offered learning environments, and contributed to food production, while providing spring boards for other community initiatives.