Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Sutton, David


This dissertation explores the everyday practice of home and community vegetable gardening in a small southern Illinois city. The project engages with questions of how diverse elements of practice interact over time in the development of both gardens and gardeners, dwelling particularly on how the material agency of nonhumans contributes to what emerges. Combining a broad investigation of societal influences and constraints involved in gardening practices with a granular focus on material interactions in the garden, I consider the kinds of relationships individuals forge with the nonhuman environment in a modern, Western context and how they do so. Understanding such connections is essential in formulating responses to contemporary environmental crises. The study addresses multiple topics of interest in anthropology including skill and learning, sensory experience, time, care practices, ecological embeddedness, and community building in social movements.




This dissertation is Open Access and may be downloaded by anyone.