Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Jennifer Friedman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Laurel Graham, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rebecca K. Zarger, Ph.D.


community, gemeinschaft, gesellschaft, governmentality, ethic of care


This case study of a school garden focuses on concepts of community that are fostered and embodied at this setting. By utilizing participatory ethnographic methodologies, this research explored gemeinschaft and gesellschaft concepts of community. Data reveals that students are able to learn mastery, belonging, generosity and independence while participating in the garden work. Teachers manage students who attempt to challenge the boundaries of this community by utilizing and ethic of care which allows teachers to de-emphasize authority and to first consider the networks of relationships and how to mend and improve them. Students are able to experience governmentality and an opportunity to reassess their behaviors against the community norms. It also appears that students are socialized into gemeinschaft values by experiencing caring, loving, and nurturing relationships that are meaningful and significant. Students also experience their own independence and self-governance and are afforded opportunities to share authority in a bottom-up approach. It appears that school gardens have benefits that are far more significant than simply learning math and science skills.