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Natural Sciences Education Abstract - Undergraduate Education

Harmony Park: A Decision Case on Gardening on a Brownfield Site


This article in NSE

  1. Vol. 43 No. 1, p. 33-41
    unlockOPEN ACCESS
    Received: Feb 25, 2013
    Published: March 7, 2014

    * Corresponding author(s): deann@ksu.edu
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  1. Ashley Marie Raes Harms,
  2. DeAnn Ricks Presley *,
  3. Ganga M. Hettiarachchi,
  4. Chammi Attanayake,
  5. Sabine Martin and
  6. Steven J. Thien
  1. Dep. of Agronomy, Throckmorton Hall, Kansas State Univ., Manhattan, KS 66506-5501. Contrib. no. 13-129-J, Kansas Agric. Exp. Stn


In March of 2009, Mr. John Holloway and his neighbors in the Harmony Park district of Kansas City, MO, were excited to begin gardening on a vacant city lot in their neighborhood. The neighborhood, like many in urban areas, had once been residential interspersed with small establishments including restaurants, shops, and businesses such as auto body shops and gas stations. The under-utilized lot had once had multiple abandoned houses on it that had been torn down about two decades earlier, but since then the lot had been empty, overgrown with weeds, and a neighborhood eyesore. Mr. Holloway, a leader in his community, hoped that a community garden would not only improve the aesthetics of his neighborhood, but also provide a local, inexpensive source of fresh fruits and vegetables for his neighborhood, which is located in a food desert. When concerns arose about soil contaminants on the site, Mr. Holloway grew panicked that a community garden on a brownfield site would do more harm than good in his neighborhood. This case focuses on Mr. Holloway’s decision of whether to continue gardening on the brownfield site in Harmony Park. The decision requires that students evaluate environmental, agronomic, human health, social, and economic issues related to the problem Mr. Holloway faces. Objectives of this case are for students to analyze and discuss data and concepts related to gardening on brownfield sites, urban soil contamination, urban food deserts, and human health.

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