Race and Class Differences In Urban Environmental Participation: Investigating How School Gardens Connect Students and Families To Communities

Monday, July 14, 2014: 4:15 PM
Room: F202
Oral Presentation
Dana FISHER , University of Maryland, MD
How are race and class related to environmental forms of civic participation?  This project disentangles the differences in participation in environmental activities by race and class in one urban setting by studying the ways that students, families, and communities are/are not getting involved in their local school gardens.  Building on the fact that there are few studies that specifically focus on non-White civic engagement, and even fewer that hold constant social class, compare across race, and look at environmental activities, this project is designed to fill these gaps by studying race and class differences in environmental engagement. Moreover, this study examines how student participation through a state-supported school garden program is related to environmental engagement, science aptitude, and nutritional knowledge of the students and parents of the children who are enrolled in the program. The project integrates pre-existing data on academic achievement, with survey and interview data collected through the three components of the project to understand the impacts the school gardens are having on students, their families and their communities.  We find that there are significant differences in environmental engagement by race and class and we discuss how to understand them in detail.