Cultivating Swedish-ness? Urban gardening and social inclusion among people of refugee backgrounds
Although there is a long tradition of allotment gardening (kolonilotter) in Sweden, the last years have shown a boom in a slightly different type of low-scale cultivation: so-called urban gardening. The flourishing of such gardening is far from unique to Sweden; it is rather a global trend, related to the spike in oil and food prices and economic crisis as well as concerns about ecological and social sustainability. This research investigates urban gardening in the Malmö-Lund area and especially urban gardening projects that focus on or involve people with migrant backgrounds.
As elsewhere, urban gardens in Malmö and Lund are often understood to ameliorate social relations, transgress cultural boundaries and initiating different forms of healing processes and positive social change, especially in poor urban areas. Urban gardening projects often have outspoken ambitions to create community locally. This study attempts to understand and discuss cultural notions and practices of community, conviviality, inclusion, sustainability and healing among urban gardeners. Imagined and experienced positive transformation is especially interesting to explore in local areas, discursively framed as culturally diverse and socio-economically marginalized.