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Academic publishes UK’s first major 'guerrilla gardening' study


Academic publishes UK’s first major 'guerrilla gardening' study

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Dr Michael Hardman has lead-authored a new book on the first major study of guerrilla gardening in the UK.

Guerrilla gardeners plant crops and flowers on unused and neglected urban spaces, such as grass verges and roundabouts - often on land that they do not have the legal right to use.


In the North West a well known example of guerrilla gardening is Incredible Edible Todmorden, which started without permission but soon blossomed into a large urban growing movement - using public space like the fire station, police station and the railway station to plant vegetables, trees and other greenery. Inspired by this message, other enthusiasts have picked up the Incredible Edible baton: the UK network alone now has more than 50 independent groups and as a worldwide movement, it stretches from Canada to New Zealand.

There are many other examples of guerrilla gardening in the North West, from the University of Salford’s very own guerrilla gardener, who plants around the campus without permission, to the Pendleton Guerrillas and many more; the movement is growing at a rapid rate. 

The book, Informal Urban Agriculture: The Secret Lives of Guerrilla Gardeners, is written in collaboration with Dr Hardman’s former PhD tutor Professor Peter Larkham, Associate Head of Research at Birmingham City University’s School of the Built Environment. In it he interviews and observes groups of guerrilla gardeners and key findings of the book include:

Dr Hardman, Lecturer in Geography and Environmental Management (GEM), said: "Guerrilla gardening is now an international phenomenon and those involved take part for a number of reasons that include brightening up their neighbourhoods to using gardening as a form of political protest.

"We particularly focus on the guerrilla gardeners who plant edible crops, investigating the reasons why they get involved – for some, it is more ‘naughtiness’ than the wider public health benefits that could result."

For more information please click here. The books costs £108 and has ISBN 978-3-319-09534-.