Doing practice-based ethnography: cultivating unknown futures and the co-creation of home in domestic food gardens (12422)
This paper is an exploration of liveliness, connection and embodiment through the practices of home food gardeners and their enactment of multiple ways of being in suburban Melbourne. A qualitative methods approach to data collection was used, incorporating extended amounts of time working as a participant observer, doing practice-based ethnography and undertaking unstructured interviews. Home food gardening involves the habitual cultivation of food within the confines of the domestic space. Food gardeners practice connections with nature that both challenge and concur with contemporary theorisations. The practice of growing food allows people to interface with their concepts of nature. In doing so, they also maintain personal wellbeing. Food gardeners are also affected in the choices they make with regards to domestic waste, water and local toxicity. These feature to gardeners as felt experiences, which in turn shapes the way they conceptually and practically interact with and co-create their home. Home food gardening enacts a way of being that is more proximate to the way in which food is grown. This proximity is further developed by the relationships and processes sustained by gardening with non-human agencies. Food gardening fosters an intimate, edible knowledge of the physical and social environment. This forms a more proximate experience of home for food gardeners.