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Sowing Vegetables and Reaping Morality – Ideals on the Benefits of Kitchen Gardening
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.
2014 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The history of the kitchen garden and its relation to the kitchen itself, the provisioning of food in urban settings, is the topic of this paper. The aim is to trace out how the home production of fruits and vegetables relate to the larger system of production, distribution and consumption of fresh produce. The paper thus seeks to answer how the need for domestic food production was affected by commercial production of fresh produce, by new means of distribution and retailing with extending supply zones as well as by the development of the kitchen technology such as refrigeration and deep freezing. These fundamental changes of the food system, had consequences for the ideals of the kitchen garden. In the decades around the turn of the century 1900, kitchen gardens and allotment gardens were seen as a solution not only to the times of dearth, but also to the moral hazards of urban living.


By growing his own garden, the worker was supposed to derive nourishment for both soul and body. Growing vegetables was also a respectable endeavour for the middle and upper classes: the garden cities allowing them to plant kitchen gardens of various size and ambition. Growing vegetables became anathema to modern, rational life. When pursued, it was more as a pastime. Gardening went from necessity to pleasure, from survival to gastronomic delight. However, recent revival of interest in growing your own food also says something about the qualms engendered by the modern food system. Here the morality of home food production again stands out. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Economic History
Research subject
Economic History
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-240573OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-240573DiVA: diva2:777792
European Social Science History conference, Wien 23-26 april 2014
Lokal mat
The Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Foundation, W2010-0194:1
Available from: 2015-01-08 Created: 2015-01-08 Last updated: 2015-01-08

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Lee, Jenny
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