Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Dr. Adriana Premat


The following MA thesis is based on research I conducted in the summer of 2010 at HOPE community garden, located in the gentrifying neighborhood of Parkdale, Toronto. Drawing on the literature on community gardens in North America, as well as anthropological theorizing on the subject of community, I explore how a sense of collective belonging is built around HOPE garden. Through an ethnographic study that focuses on the activities, interactions, and perceptions of gardeners, volunteers and coordinators involved with HOPE, this thesis shows how the differences and interpersonal conflicts that surface in the day to day working of the garden are embraced by those involved as an opportunity for strengthening community cohesion and feelings of belonging. Contrary to the popular and academic literature that tends to reproduce a romantic idea of a harmonious community when discussing group garden projects, the thesis reveals how conflicts and the negotiation of differences, as well as institutional practices premised on inclusion and anti-discrimination, play a significant role in the making of a successful, vibrant, and inclusive community project like HOPE.