In this article we approach school gardens as sites of socioecological change where experiential politics work through the establishment of sustainable and socially just practices. We argue that for some children in “struggling schools,” school gardens become spaces where the alienating aspects of neoliberal school reform in the United States can be overcome by forging connections with classmates, university students, plants, and animals. In these intimate urban ecologies, affective and playful labor become the bases for knowledge production that exceeds the disciplinary functions of standardized testing, individual achievement, and accountability emphasized in neoliberal school reform. Our empirics derive from garden projects involving university interns and school children in two underresourced schools in poor neighborhoods in Tucson, Arizona.
- affective labor
- playful labor
- school gardens
- socioecological transformation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Earth-Surface Processes