Towards sustainable urban food systems: Analyzing contextual and intrapsychic drivers of growing food in small-scale urban agriculture

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Small-scale urban agriculture is associated with positive health and environmental outcomes. Previous studies examined factors that drive people to grow foods in urban areas mainly drawing on qualitative data. This research investigates quantitatively what determines consumer preferences for growing foods in community gardens, informing efforts to upscale urban agriculture. We conducted choice experiments in North America and performed latent class analysis of contextual and intrapsychic factors affecting consumers' preferences for growing foods in cities. Results show that providing tools and guidance are the most important contextual factors affecting community garden participation. The preferences of proponents of growing foods are explained by their high subjective knowledge about growing foods and reasons tied to the benefits of participating in community gardening. Opponents of growing foods at community gardens are characterized by low knowledge. The findings can be used to design policies that promote sustainable food systems in urban areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0243949
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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