“Got to get ourselves back to the garden”: Sustainability transformations and the power of positive environmental communication

As places that disrupt “business as usual,” community food gardens carry the potential to experientially, critically, and restoratively recenter food systems and interconnected sustainability knowledges. Using interdisciplinary theory and practice-based observation, we zero in on the environmental planning and management space of the university campus to interpret how food gardens may not only materially change the campus landscape at a grassroots level but also act as constitutive forms of positive environmental communication. In doing so, food gardens may help realign the environmental premises of the university. At a time when universities have pressing leadership roles in rethinking the ecocultural, political, and economic dimensions of sustainable transformations of life as a whole, we illustrate how the creation of food gardens on all campuses might meaningfully and relationally reconnect university communities with the land where they work, learn, and teach, and, in the process, experientially promote ecocentric identities and empower change-making.

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