Eco-social Work in Action: A Place for Community Gardens
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© 2017 Australian Association of Social Workers. In this paper, the authors theorise on eco-social work, an emerging descriptor for practices located at the intersection of social work and eco-justice. It presents a collaborative auto-ethnographic study undertaken by three social work academics that addressed the question: In what ways can community gardens be sites for eco-social work practice? The question was premised on the idea that community gardens are often recognised as sites for practising sustainability. An action learning research framework guided a process in and with three different community gardens. Specifically, this paper highlights practices that suggest community gardens are spaces for social work practice including: resistance to the dominant discourses of hyper-capitalism and consumerism; the building of trust and cooperation in relationships; and the development of egalitarian relationships between people and, ultimately, all elements of the natural realm. The findings suggest that community gardens can be spaces for practising eco-social work. IMPLICATIONS Community gardens are spaces where eco-social workers can develop their understanding of eco-justice and challenge unsustainability. Social workers, working across a range of practice fields can engage professionally with community gardens. Community gardens provide a context where egalitarian, cooperative, and trusting social work practice can take place.
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