For the most part, research and policymaking on urban gardening have focused on community gardens, whether in parks, vacant lots, or other public land. This emphasis, while important for many Midwestern cities, can obscure the significance of privately owned land such as front yard and back yard and their crucial connections with gardening on public land. In this case study, we examine how policies and practices related to gardening and the management of green space in two Midwestern cities exceed narrow visions of urban agriculture. The article explores the cultivation of vacant lot gardens and private yards as two modes of property in similar Midwestern contexts and argues that the management of green space is about more than urban agriculture. Instead, we show how urban gardening occurs across public/private property distinctions and involves a broader set of actors than those typically included in sustainability policies. Gardening also provides a key set of connections through which neighbors understand and practice sustainability in Midwestern cities.

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