The socio-environmental impacts of public urban fruit trees: A Montreal case-study

The socio-environmental impacts of public urban fruit trees: A Montreal case-study

Accepted Manuscript Title: The Socio-Environmental Impacts of Public Urban Fruit Trees: A Montreal Case-Study Authors: Juliette Colinas, Paula Bush, K...

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Accepted Manuscript Title: The Socio-Environmental Impacts of Public Urban Fruit Trees: A Montreal Case-Study Authors: Juliette Colinas, Paula Bush, Kevin Manaugh PII: DOI: Reference:

S1618-8667(17)30438-7 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2018.05.002 UFUG 26132

To appear in: Received date: Revised date: Accepted date:

19-7-2017 28-4-2018 7-5-2018

Please cite this article as: Colinas, Juliette, Bush, Paula, Manaugh, Kevin, The SocioEnvironmental Impacts of Public Urban Fruit Trees: A Montreal Case-Study.Urban Forestry and Urban Greening https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2018.05.002 This is a PDF file of an unedited manuscript that has been accepted for publication. As a service to our customers we are providing this early version of the manuscript. The manuscript will undergo copyediting, typesetting, and review of the resulting proof before it is published in its final form. Please note that during the production process errors may be discovered which could affect the content, and all legal disclaimers that apply to the journal pertain.

Title:The Socio-Environmental Impacts of Public Urban Fruit Trees: A

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Montreal Case-Study

Authors:Juliette Colinas1, Paula Bush2, Kevin Manaugh3

1Department

of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

2Participatory

of Geography and McGill School of Environment, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec,

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3 Department

Research at McGill, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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Canada

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Corresponding author:

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Juliette Colinas

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404-3475 Ridgewood Av. Montreal H3V-1B4, Quebec, Canada

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[email protected]

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Graphical Abstract

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Figure 1 Impacts of the public urban orchard in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue (Quebec) observed for the four social

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phenomena under study. Left: Impacts observed. Positive impacts were found on most of the social capital and place

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attachment subcomponents studied (thick arrows). Impacts observed on food and environmental knowledge were lower

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than expected: no impacts were observed on the participants’ environmental knowledge (bulleted arrow), and evidence was found of impacts on food knowledge, but not on knowledge of the food system (thin arrow). Right: Hypothesized impacts if participatory activities and more information were available (thicker arrows); the results suggest that

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implementing participatory activities around the orchard maintenance and harvesting as well as providing users with

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more information about the orchard and its relationships with the food system and the local and global environment

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could increase impacts on the four social phenomena.

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Highlights

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A public urban orchard was found to positively impact social capital, place attachment and food knowledge.



Positive impacts on trust in the city administration were found.



Information on the site and participatory activities may enhance the impacts. 2



Practical considerations such as location and species chosen could improve impacts.

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Abstract In the past two decades, worldwide interest in urban agriculture has rapidly increased amongst residents, city administrations, businesses and researchers, and a diversity of social and

environmental benefits were found or argued for the practice. However, most studies have been conducted on commercial activities or on community-gardens, which are either private or of

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restricted access, and to our knowledge no study is available yet on the impacts of public produce,

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that is, food grown in public spaces and freely accessible to passersby. Yet, because its access is

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unrestricted, public produce might impact the community in a different and perhaps more

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widespread fashion than community gardens. To begin to address this gap, we studied potential socio-environmental impacts of public urban fruit trees, focusing on social capital, place

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attachment, food and environmental knowledge, using a public urban orchard located in Montreal,

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Quebec as a case-study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with users of the site and analyzed using a mixed inductive and deductive qualitative approach. Evidence of positive impacts

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was found for social capital (including the relationship with the city administration), place attachment, and food knowledge, while no evidence was found for environmental knowledge. The

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results also strongly suggest that implementing participatory activities and providing more information about the orchard, the food system, and the environment on the site could increase the

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impacts on the four social phenomena studied. This study suggests that public, unrestricted-access urban agriculture could have diverse and direct socio-environmental impacts. The findings should be of interest to city administrations seeking cost-efficient means of positively contributing to

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socio-environmental sustainability and to the well-being of their residents, as well as to researchers interested in the relationship between urban planning and socio-environmental sustainability.

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Keywords

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public produce; urban planning; urban green spaces; social capital; place attachment; sustainability

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Introduction

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Rationale

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Public produce is a specific type of urban agriculture wherein food is legally grown in public spaces

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and freely accessible to passersby. In the past two decades, worldwide interest in urban agriculture has rapidly increased for residents, city administrations, businesses and researchers, and a

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diversity of social and environmental benefits have been found or argued for the practice (e.g., Cockrall-King, 2012; McClintock, 2010; Tornaghi, 2014). However, most of the research studies

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were conducted on community gardens, and public produce has received little attention. Yet, public produce could significantly contribute to food security, since it has a promising production

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potential (Lafontaine and Olivier, 2017): in the United States (U.S.), the city is the largest landowner (McLain et al., 2012; Nordahl, 2014), and in Canada, though the exact data are not available, public urban land is also substantial (Eidelman, 2016). Moreover, public produce may have social benefits on a scale and of a kind that no other type of urban agriculture can provide, since a larger 4

proportion of the population can be in contact with it (as found for public access gardens in Berlin (Bendt et al., 2013)), and it could allow urban residents to experientially interact with nature and not merely through sight as it is generally the case in urban parks (Gobster, 2007). Public produce could also complement foraging practices in urban areas where foraging species are limited, or for

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urban residents who are not inclined towards foraging. Indeed, studies conducted in several cities of the U.S. found that foraging is a vibrant and widespread practice providing sociocultural benefits and livelihood, and thereby supporting sustainability goals (Hurley et al., 2015; McLain et al., 2014; Poe et al., 2013; Short Gianotti and Hurley, 2016). Therefore, several authors advocate seeing urban land as a provider not only of services, but also of goods such as foods, medicines and fuel wood

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(McLain et al., 2012; Poe et al., 2013; Terada et al., 2010). However, unlike community gardens,

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public produce is simply present in the surroundings and does not, on its own, actively engage

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residents. Therefore, it is unclear what its social impacts will be.

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Here, we performed an exploratory study of the socio-environmental impacts of public produce, i.e.,

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social impacts that in turn can affect environmental sustainability, using as a case-study a public

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urban orchard located along a bike path in the city of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue (SADB), on the island of Montreal, Quebec (Ville de Sainte Anne de Bellevue, 2013).

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Though fruit trees have until now received little attention within urban agricultural research, which

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tends to focus on vegetable gardens (Lafontaine and Olivier, 2017), interest in fruit trees among residents and city administrations is rapidly rising. This is seen in grassroots movements involving

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fruit tree mapping and harvesting (Clark and Nicholas, 2013) and city administrations planting fruit trees on their public space, e.g., Jakarta in Indonesia (Courrier International, 2013), Zurich, in Switzerland (“Obstbäume,” n.d.) and several cities in North America (Cockrall-King, 2012; Sheehan, 2014; Shore, 2012a, 2012b). Moreover, several characteristics make productive trees particularly interesting for urban food production and sustainability (Clark and Nicholas, 2013; McLain et al., 5

2012, 2012; Molnar et al., 2013; Nordahl, 2014; Vinceti et al., 2013), such as being perennial and having large yields per surface area (Monfreda et al., 2008), and the fact that fruit from trees might be less susceptible than vegetables to contamination from polluted urban soil (Samsøe-Petersen et

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al., 2002; Trapp and Legind, 2011; von Hoffen and Säumel, 2014).

Factors studied

Impacts on four types of social phenomena were studied: 1) connections between residents and

between residents and the city administration (social capital), 2) connections between residents

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and their place (place attachment), 3) residents’ knowledge of food and the food system, and 4)

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residents’ knowledge about the environment more broadly. These four phenomena, each of which

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had been linked to environmental sustainability in previous literature, were chosen for the

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following reasons. First, social capital was selected because, as detailed below, several studies show that it can be positively affected by community gardens, and we wanted to see whether public

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produce could have similar impacts even though it does not on its own encourage social

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interactions through shared activities in an enclosed space. Second, place attachment was selected because, in Mihaylov and Perkins’ framework (2014), attachment and social capital are two

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important and inter-related factors explaining how a community responds to environmental change, and thus how it behaves with respect to sustainability. Third, we selected food and

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environmental knowledge as they appeared likely to be affected by an orchard project. Finally, these four social phenomena, taken together, provided a relatively comprehensive view of the

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users’ interactions with their surroundings: interactions with local people (social capital), with the local environment (place attachment), the more extended environment (food and food system knowledge), and the planet at large (environmental knowledge). Our study therefore also aimed at testing a relatively comprehensive framework which might be useful for other socio-environmental 6

impact assessments of urban planning projects. Below we provide more background information on these four phenomena. The concept of social capital is used in many social science fields and international institutions

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such as the World Bank. Already embedded in the work of Durkheim in the 19th century, the concept became more widely used and discussed from the 1980s with the work of Pierre Bourdieu, James Coleman and Robert Putnam—and especially with Putnam’s book, Bowling Alone, which

argued that the declining participation to organized groups in America was a sign that social capital was also in decline in the country (Field, 2008). Putnam defined social capital as “features of social

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organization, such as trust, norms and networks, that can improve the efficiency of society by

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facilitating coordinated actions” (Field, 2008)—that is, for him and contrary to Coleman and

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Bourdieu, social capital was not an outcome, but a means (Chang, 2013). Today, how social capital should be defined is still debated, which might be in part due to the different views of its three

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originators (Adger, 2003; Field, 2008; Pelling and High, 2005a). Also, some authors emphasize the

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need for a better understanding of social capital in order to incorporate it effectively into policy

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(e.g. (Campbell et al., 2010)). Nevertheless, social capital remains a useful concept. Social capital is usually subdivided into components relating to social trust, social networks (with

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various network bond types) and social norms and values (Field, 2008). In our study, we used the

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following subdivision adapted from Aldrich (2017), Jones et al. (2009) and Mihaylov and Perkins (2014). Bonding social capital: emotionally-driven social interactions within the place. Bridging

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social capital: utility-driven connections between different social groups or communities. Linking social capital: utility-driven connections between social groups with different power and authority. Collective efficacy: the confidence that residents have in the efficacy of organized collective action with their neighbors. Sense of community: the feelings of membership or belongingness to a group, and the trust between neighbors. Neighboring: the help exchanged between neighbors. Citizen 7

participation: individual and community participation in grassroots voluntary associations. Trust in the administration: residents’ trust in their city administration. Social capital has been proposed on theoretical or empirical grounds to be causally linked to

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environmental sustainability through various means, such as by encouraging pro-environmental attitude (Onyx et al., 2004), participation in governance (Lebel et al., 2006; Rydin and Pennington, 2000), local initiatives (Schäpke and Omann, 2013; Selman, 2001), the ability to build collective

responses and improving their quality (Adger, 2003; Adger et al., 2005; Pelling and High, 2005b),

and lowering barriers to policy implementation (Jones et al., 2009; Rydin and Holman, 2004). (Note

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that not all bond types or network structures positively affect a community’s ability to respond to

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issues, but this point will not be addressed here (Bodin and Crona, 2009; Newman and Dale, 2007,

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2005a, 2005b; Wolf et al., 2010).)

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Moreover, various studies show or propose that the presence and quality of public spaces (Cattell et al., 2008; Curley, 2010; Francis et al., 2012; Leyden, 2003; Paranagamage et al., 2010), green spaces

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(Coley et al., 1997; Kaźmierczak, 2013; Okvat and Zautra, 2011; Peters et al., 2010), community

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gardens (Kingsley and Townsend, 2006; Shinew et al., 2004; Slater, 2001; Teig et al., 2009) and foraging (Poe et al., 2013) can positively impact social capital by providing spaces or activities that

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encourage interactions among people.

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The concept of place attachment, first proposed by geographers several decades ago (Kudryavtsev et al., 2012), though less widely known than social capital is also used in many social science and

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humanities disciplines. It centers on the argument that place is more than a mere background in which social phenomena take place: it fundamentally interacts with and affects these phenomena, being also “a way of seeing, knowing and understanding the world” (Cresswell, cited in DevineWright 2013, p.62). Similarly to social capital, definitions of place attachment vary (and the term 8

“sense of place” is sometimes used instead of “place attachment”, the latter then being a subcomponent of sense of place (Kudryavtsev et al., 2012)). One definition is: “positively experienced bonds, sometimes occurring without awareness, that are developed over time from the behavioral, affective, and cognitive ties between individuals and/or groups and their socio-physical

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environment.” (Mihaylov and Perkins, 2014). Place attachment might be scale-dependent, i.e., one may have different degrees of and reasons for attachment to one’s neighborhood, city, country, or the planet (Devine-Wright, 2013).

The subcomponents of place attachment also vary with authors. In our study, we used the

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subdivision provided for “community place attachment” by Mihaylov and Perkins (2014), but

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simply refer to it as “place attachment”. Place definition: the characteristic boundaries, features, and

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attributes that distinguish a place in the minds of the residents. Place bonding: the individual’s emotional ties to their place of residence. Place dependence: how much residents depend on their

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personal identity through their place.

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place to enable the activities and experiences they desire. Place identity: how residents define their

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Place attachment has been proposed to impact environmental sustainability by fostering proenvironmental behavior, as supported by several empirical studies performed in Norway, USA,

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Canada and France (reviewed by Kudryavtsev (2012)). However, this effect might take place via

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attachment to natural place, and not civic place, i.e., through the place’s ecological meaning (Brehm et al., 2013; Scannell and Gifford, 2010). Place attachment could also contribute to the development

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of socio-ecological memory, i.e., the collection of knowledge about ecosystem services that is embedded in the material and cognitive components of the place and is a shared source of resilience (Barthel et al., 2010).

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Positive impacts on place attachment have been empirically observed for the supply and quality of green space (Arnberger and Eder, 2012), participation in community gardening (Comstock et al., 2010) and foraging (Poe et al., 2014).

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Knowledge about food and the food system is a necessary, though not sufficient, factor affecting change in food behavior (de Magistris and Gracia, 2008; Magnusson et al., 2003; Spronk et al., 2014; Torjusen et al., 2001; Worsley, 2002), which can then impact environmental sustainability by

encouraging consumers to choose food types with lower environmental footprints, such as e.g.,

fresh, local, and organic foods (Horrigan et al., 2002; Kulak et al., 2013; Pimentel et al., 2005; Seufert

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and Ramankutty, 2017). Concerning the impact of place on food knowledge, several studies have

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found that children’s participation in school gardening programs positively influenced their fruit

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and vegetable intake (Draper and Freedman, 2010), and the same might be true for adults’ participation in community gardening (McCormack et al., 2010). Foraging could also be a means of

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improving food knowledge (Poe et al., 2014). In our study, we considered food knowledge to

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include knowledge of food (nutrition, varieties) and knowledge of the food system (social,

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economic, and environmental considerations). Environmental knowledge has been defined as one’s ability to identify a number of symbols,

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concepts and behavior patterns related to environmental protection, and was suggested to be

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among the important factors that promote pro-environmental behavior (Chawla, 2009; Chawla and Derr, 2012; Vicente-Molina et al., 2013), and thus environmental sustainability. We know of no

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study on the impact of urban spaces on environmental knowledge. However, urban green spaces could easily provide the three suggested key ingredients for effectiveness of environmental education programs: extended duration, connection of the learned material with the real world, and the students’ active involvement (Chawla and Derr, 2012). Therefore, urban green spaces could be particularly effective for environmental education. It has also been argued that “urban green 10

commons”, by reaching out to a broader public, might foster deeper learning and socio-ecological memory (Colding et al., 2013; Colding and Barthel, 2013). In our study, environmental knowledge was taken as knowledge of higher-level ecosystem issues that are not immediately apparent to an

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individual, e.g., climate-change and soil erosion. We also sought to evaluate the participants’ interest in participatory activities around the

orchard’s maintenance or harvesting. Indeed, such activities have been developed for public

orchards in other cities (“Beacon Food Forest,” n.d., “Urban Orchard Stewards,” n.d.; Cairns, Lois,

2014; Nordahl, 2014; Vancouver Sun, 2013) and could have several positive impacts: 1) enhance

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the positive impacts on social capital; 2) reduce maintenance costs for the city; 3) ensure the

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survival of the project (citizen participation was identified as one of the four factors predicting

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success of European green spaces (Baycan-Levent & Nijkamp, 2009)); 4) improve environmental sustainability through various means such as better correspondence to democratic ideals and

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empowerment of marginalized groups (Stringer et al., 2006), social learning (Bendt et al., 2013;

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Colding et al., 2013; Colding and Barthel, 2013; Folke et al., 2011), as well as an increase of mixed-

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usage (Mehta, 2009), equality of access (Hodgkin, 2011; Wolch et al., 2014), and pro-environmental

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behavior (Andersson et al., 2014).

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Methods

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Data collection

This study was exploratory (socio-environmental impacts of public orchards had to our knowledge not been studied previously) and aimed at seeing whether impacts of public produce on the four social phenomena studied are possible. 11

First, to collect background information on the project, the two people who had been responsible for its development and implementation were interviewed: a city council member (male, 45) and the city’s chief gardener (male, 54). They were asked about the project’s history, their involvement with it and their perception of citizens’ participation in the project and of communication to citizens

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about the project.

Second, bike path users (‘participants’) were interviewed to explore the impacts of the orchard on the local population (Table 1). Users of the bike path were targeted since they were the most likely to have been in contact with the orchard. We sought a sample of about as many males and females,

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with a diversity of cultural backgrounds, ages, and usages and views of the orchard. This sampling

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strategy was in line with our goals to see whether impacts are posse and to gather rich, thick

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descriptions (Patton, 2015; Stake, 2010; Yin, 2016) of the users’ interaction with the orchard to reveal interesting elements that may be associated with these impacts and that could fuel further

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studies. We only sought adults, given the logistical constraints for ethical approval associated with

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recruiting participants under 18 years of age. Participants were recruited in September 2015 by

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approaching bike path users (n=7) and through snowball sampling through one of the participants (n=4). With eleven participants we had reached our objectives, so recruitment was stopped; such a

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number of participants is suitable for a qualitative exploratory study, or a qualitative study prioritizing depth of analysis (Patton, 2002), like ours. Data collection and analysis were

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concurrent. The interview guide for the participants was designed to elicit information on the following topics: 1) usage and perception of the bike path (which provides fruit tree access); 2)

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usage and perception of the orchard as such and as a city project; 3) current state of the social phenomena; 4) impacts of the orchard on the social phenomena; 5) interest in participatory activities; 6) history with other food growing, harvesting or foraging activities; 7) history with community participation (see interview guide in Research Data). We aimed for the questions to be 12

neutral and to probe the participants’ behaviors and preferences, rather than their thoughts (Yin, 2016). For example, to learn how they defined their place, participants were asked what they liked and what they disliked about it; for food and environmental knowledge, they were asked what factors they take into consideration when buying food, clothing, and cleaning products; for the

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impacts on social capital, questions were asked about their current or potential future social

interactions involving the fruit trees. All sub-components of social capital and place attachment

were evaluated except for collective efficacy and place identity because they would have required a greater scope of study. Participants were also asked to fill out a form to collect their background

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information.

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All interviews were semi-structured and audio-recorded, lasted on average one hour, were

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conducted in English or French, and took place between October 2015 and February 2016.

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Data analysis

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Interviews with users were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using a mixed deductive and

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inductive approach (adapted from Fereday and Muir-Cochrane (2006) and Friese (2014, 2011)) in order to both answer our specific research questions and make unexpected observations. The

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transcripts were read several times and coded in ATLAS.ti (version 7.5.12). Three cycles of coding

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were performed, following Friese (2014), and using two types of codes: “deductive” codes which were a priori set from the research themes, and “inductive” codes which were generated through

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the analysis of the data. Inductive codes were generated by “noticing, collecting, and thinking” about things, and grouped into categories. Each cycle ended with tightening up the code list by merging codes with few occurrences and creating or improving code categories. The code list was cross-checked between two authors (JC and KM) after the first cycle. In the second and third cycles, the code list was modified to better fit the data. By the third cycle only minor refinements to the 13

code list were necessary so the coding process was stopped. Seventeen categories of inductive codes resulted: activities, behavior, bike path, city, economy, environment, feelings, food, fruit trees, human relationships, knowledge, nature, place, qualities, social capital, time, and well-being (see codes in Research Data). To analyze the codes and derive emerging themes, we 1) retrieved the

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inductive codes intersecting with our deductive codes and compiled the emerging themes; 2)

summarized the interviews with guidance from these emerging themes; 3) interpreted the code lists with guidance from the summaries.

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Setting*

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Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue (SADB) is a suburb of about 5,000 inhabitants, founded in 1703 on the

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Island of Montreal (Montréal en statistiques, 2014). It is home to a college, a university, an

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arboretum and two nature parks (Ville de Sainte Anne de Bellevue, 2013).

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In 2008, the city initiated the construction of a bike path for recreational use as well as for allowing

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active transportation between its northern and southern neighborhoods (previously only connected through a busy road dangerous to cyclists and pedestrians), and in 2010 it began

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landscaping the five-kilometer route (Figure 3). At the suggestion of the city council member interviewed, and facilitated by grants from the Toronto Dominion Bank, fruit trees predominated

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the plantings. The chief gardener of SADB oversaw the implementation of the project. Organic cultivation methods and cultivars suited to the climate were used, with permaculture principles in

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mind. The orchard is currently managed and maintained by the chief gardener and his crew, and

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All non-referenced information in this section was obtained from interviews with the two people who have been

mainly responsible for the project, namely the chief city gardener and a city council member (see Methods).

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the plantings will continue until the path is completed. Residents were invited to participate in the plantings, and these events were well attended. The city council member and the chief gardener are open to the idea of further resident participation, though they expressed concerns about the

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potential participants’ reliability in terms of attendance and their knowledge of tree pruning. Thus far, several hundred trees and shrubs have been planted, with the most successful species including Aronia Berry (Aronia melanocarpa), Nanking Cherry (Prunus tomentosa), Illinois

Everbearing Mulberry (Morus alba x Morus rubra), Liberty Apple (Malus domestica 'Liberty'), Prairie Fire Crabapple (Malus 'Prairie Fire'), Shinseiki Asian Pear (Pyrus pyrifolia 'Shinseiki'), Red D'Anjou

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Pear (Pyrus communis 'D'Anjou'), Heartnut (Juglans ailantifolia var. cordiformis), Black Currant

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(Ribes nigrum), Red Currant (Ribes rubrum), Mount Royal Plum (Prunus domestica 'Mount Royal'),

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Early Golden Plum (Prunus salicina 'Golden Japan'), Stanley Prune-Plum (Prunus domestica). This gives SADB one of the highest levels of fruit tree diversity in a Canadian small town (Ville de Sainte

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Anne de Bellevue, 2013). The trees are easily accessible within a few meters of the bike path, and

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have developed well, bearing fruit since 2012 (Figure 4). The orchard is the only public orchard in

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SADB, and public orchards in Canada are rare. The city described the project in its seasonal brochure delivered to local residences and in the city’s

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publicly available sustainable development plan (City of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, 2012). On the

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site, the species are labelled but no further information is presented. The city council member and the chief gardener stated that sufficient communication about the project had been made because,

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in their opinion, information will disperse naturally among the residents. They also claimed that demand would exceed supply if more communication were made since the yield is still limited.

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Results Background information on participants

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The list of bike path users interviewed is shown in Table 1, together with some of their socio-

demographic background information. The sample was highly homogeneous in terms of lifestyle, income and age (only one participant was below age 50), but this reflected the particular

neighborhood to which most users of the bike path belong (SADB North), which solely comprises

higher-middle class single family homes, and therefore mostly adults above forty and their children

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below 18. All but the youngest had two or three children. All of them had been living or working in

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Orchard: usage, knowledge, perception

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SADB for several years.

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Participants used the bike path for exercise and in some cases harvesting fruits, several times a

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week and usually year-round, and either usually alone or with others (family member, friend, coworkers). None of the participants used it for commuting. All of them greatly appreciated the bike

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path for enabling year-round (because it is snowplowed) exercise in a safe, green, rural and attractive place free of cars; one participant even called it “a godsend” (Mary). Several also

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considered the bike path as a place to socialize.

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All participants were aware that trees had been planted along the bike path, but not necessarily that these were fruit trees, and several did not know the origin and purpose of the project. Most participants had tried at least one fruit, some having sampled a variety and even harvested large quantities to make jam. Interest in eating the fruit varied from none to having interest in some species only or to an interest for all species. Several participants wished they could have tried a 16

greater quantity and diversity of fruit, which had not been possible either because of unavailability or lack of knowledge about them. Almost all had had fruit harvesting experience in other private orchards, but only some had had

also the most open to picking and eating fruits from the orchard.

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experience with foraging, hunting or fishing. Those who had had such experiences as children were

Several factors influencing usage of the fruit trees were found: taste (such as having less interest for crab-apples and sour grapes); not having the habit of picking fruit; lack of knowledge about edible fruit or that eating the fruit was permissible; fear of worms; location of the trees (e.g., whether the

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site is secluded, or pleasant enough, and perceived as a place where one can liberally harvest—

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even Elisabeth, who had extensive experience with harvesting, felt embarrassed to harvest

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significant quantities of blackcurrants at first); unequal sharing (it seems that some people harvest

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most of the fruit before it is ripe). Several participants made a distinction between fruit from shrubs versus fruit from trees; shrubs were seen as wild and thus their fruit was perceived as more “clean”,

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less likely to be sprayed with chemicals, more likely to be worm-free, and less prone to cause

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littering. Most participants were also more inclined to eat berries than bigger fruits, except for Mathieu, who considered picking bigger fruits as more efficient, and Amy who considered berries as

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more likely to be wild and thus poisonous.

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Appreciated features of the fruit trees were most commonly their beauty (flowers, colors) and the fact that people can eat their fruit. Also mentioned were the fact that they encourage people to

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connect with nature, the fun they provide from watching the animals they attract or from harvesting their fruit, the fact that they are not as large and tall as non-productive trees and thus maintain the feeling of safety on the bike path, their potential to educate children, that the fruits are chemical-free and taste good, that the trees are unique, and that they smell nice. Disliked features 17

were rarely mentioned but were that they attract bees and wasps, cause littering or require maintenance. Regarding the perception of the orchard as a city project, we found three types of favorability. 1)

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Against: because people will not pick the fruits and the trees will require too much maintenance and will cause littering. These participants however were quite appreciative of greenery in general. 2) Neutral: appreciative of the trees, but not particularly enthusiastic about their fruit-bearing capacity for human consumption. 3) In favor: very positive towards their fruit-bearing, e.g.,

qualifying the idea of “wonderful” (Howard), or saying that more fruit trees should be planted

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(Adrian).

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Concerning the city’s motivations for undertaking the project, four kinds of views were found: for

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the benefit of residents (beauty, food, safety), for the community (encouraging citizen participation,

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making residents like their place more, reinforcing the ecological/rural style of the place), for the food system (self-sufficiency, encouraging people to plant fruit trees), or for the environment (food

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for bees and fauna). Though all could think of some reason, several were unsure about them, and

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these were also generally those who had a neutral or negative position towards the orchard.

EP

Concerns about the project were also expressed, centering mainly on orchard maintenance and the city administration’s communication about the project. Indeed, several participants either were

CC

uncertain that the fruit was edible or that eating it was permissible, or wished the city would add

A

signs or other means of indicating this: What we could add are signs, something that would explain, because someone […] might recognize the berries but not know that it’s allowed [to pick them]. Like, there is a piece missing there, I think. If you want [the project] to work, people must be

18

able to know […]. Even the young people here, I am sure they don’t know. (Elisabeth*) They need some sort of signs saying, “you could eat these apples”, or something like

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that, like to just assure people […]. Even a small sign, that like subliminally, you would be ok, you could eat these apples. (Luka)

Though the chief gardener and city council member believed that communication about the

orchard will occur naturally, one participant mentioned that she consciously restricts the number of people to whom she talks about the orchard, as long as the production is not very high, so as to

N

U

secure her harvest.

A

Impacts of the orchard project

M

Social capital

TE

D

Current state

Bonding social capital was high, though perhaps more centered on family relationships than

EP

friendships. Little mention of the topic of bridging social capital was made. As of linking social capital, some participants mentioned that they knew and could directly ask questions to the city

CC

administration—specifically the mayor and chief gardener—showing that establishing communication with the administration was possible. Neighboring also appeared high, as

A

participants often mentioned neighbors helping each other as a reason they appreciated their place, as well as sense of community, with most participants referring to SADB as a “community”. Citizen participation, or interest in such participation, was also apparent. Regarding trust in the administration, some explicitly stated that they trusted that the city administration had designed 19

and maintained the site well (e.g., did not apply pesticides or ensured the fruits were worm-free), and mitigated trust was rare. Impacts

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For bonding social capital, we found that those who could access the orchard and were interested in eating the fruit had already used or intended to use the orchard with a friend or a family member, and that these experiences were deemed as enjoyable shared moments. Particularly striking was

the impact on Luka’s relationship with his mother, who showed him the raspberries one day when they were walking on the path together. Luka, a 22-year-old male, was impressed that his mother

U

had noticed the raspberries, which he had not, and had thereby gained “respect towards her”, and

A

N

hoped that they would go on walks together more frequently:

M

I think it kind of strengthened it [our relationship] […]. I think she was more curious about what was going on in the surroundings, like she was the one that noticed the

D

raspberries, I was just thinking about something else, and I gained I guess some sort

TE

of respect towards her […]. It was a happy moment, and in the end it was like wow, we should do this more. (Luka)

EP

In addition, several participants recounted other harvesting experiences with family or friends, in

CC

other orchards or in the wild, as highly enjoyable or as “rich family moments”—including Mathieu (“super cool”) and Amy (“fun”, “different atmosphere”), who were against the SADB orchard project

A

and not very interested in picking fruits there on their own. For bridging social capital, though new relationships per say were not observed, some participants had interacted with strangers on the bike path because of the fruit trees, being offered an apple by a stranger who was harvesting them, or being asked about the fruit while harvesting. 20

Concerning citizen participation, the orchard had already served as a means for civic participation, when residents were invited to help with the plantings. According to James and the chief gardener, these were well-attended, with “more volunteers than trees to plant”.

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For trust in the city administration, several participants mentioned that they appreciated the orchard as a sign that the administration is trying to beautify the city or as proof of benevolent city management:

The fact that a city bothers to plant things that are for everyone [to use], I think that not all cities would do that, so I think that it’s a plus for the city. (James*)

U

I feel like they are trying to do their best, yeah, that’s basically it. Because I find they are

N

trying to beautify the place up, make it as nice as they can, with whatever they have got […].

M

A

For me it just makes it nicer to walk on and see all this stuff. (Mary) For several participants however, perceiving the orchard’s maintenance as adequate appeared to

D

be important for sustaining this trust:

TE

I would hate to see them just plant them and let them just die off and not be looked after. So […] maintaining them is very, very very much a factor. There is no point in

EP

planting something and then not looking after it. (Howard)

CC

So, the follow up is important. It’s nice to start up projects like that, but they must be

A

properly maintained. (Elisabeth*)

*

Citations marked with a star were translated from French by the authors.

21

Also mentioned was the need for better communication to the citizens about a project that had been financed through their taxes: If you have taken money from the taxpayers to plant a tree, all taxpayers should be

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informed. (Elisabeth*) Impacts on linking social capital, neighboring or sense of community were not observed. Place attachment

U

Current state

N

For place definition, we found that SADB was generally perceived as a green, rural, and quiet place,

A

good for raising a family, and where neighbors are friendly and helpful. It was also frequently

M

described as unique, safe, clean and environmentally conscious, providing many nature/eco-related amenities and services (compost collection, bike path, green spaces for outdoor activities,

D

ecomuseum, food markets, possibility of commuting on foot). Though its rural features were

TE

appreciated, it was also conceived as part of the “urban space”, since the easy access to downtown Montreal by car and the lack of public transportation (which, in a North American rural area, would

EP

not be remarkable) were frequently mentioned.

CC

Concerning place bonding, though all participants highly appreciated living (or working) in SADB for the features that it provided them, three different categories of emotional attachment were

A

found: sadness at the prospect of leaving SADB, reluctance to leave but apparently for practical rather than emotional reasons, and indifference towards leaving. There was no apparent relationship between the number of years spent in SADB and the level of attachment.

22

Finally, regarding place dependence, only Howard felt that it would be difficult for him to live elsewhere than in SADB—because he did not think that he could easily find another equally environmentally-conscious city administration.

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Impacts

For place definition, Elisabeth mentioned that the orchard reinforced a feature of the place that she already liked, namely its environmentally-conscious style.

As pertains to place bonding, when asked if the orchard had had an impact on their feelings for

U

SADB, several answered “yes” (and these were also those who felt emotionally attached to SADB).

N

For example:

A

Oh yes, I think so. I think it’s a wonderful idea, when I first heard that they are going to be

M

putting fruit trees all along this path, I thought that was a great idea. (Howard)

D

Participants explicitly expressed that non-productive trees would not have had the same impact as

TE

fruit trees because they would lack fruit-tree specific features, such as their beauty (colors), pleasant smell, and fruit (fresh, chemical-free):

EP

Yeah! I mean, I don’t have any fruit [trees] here so it’s good that they are something to eat while you passing you stop the bicycle and you eat them […]. You can buy in the store but,

CC

more chemicals everywhere […]. They are fresh there, it’s good, even from the farms if you

A

buy, they put [chemicals]. (Adrian) Well I found that it was a very good initiative from the city, and I thought “Oh my god, that’s nice, when the fruits will be ripe we will be able to pick them when we pass by”. (Denise*)

23

Many referenced the city administration in their answer, and some described the impact as mediated by an increased appreciation of the city administration, because of its efforts to make the city more beautiful and unique. For example:

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The administration and the way they have run the town, to ensure that it’s environmentally friendly, and that they’re doing everything they can to maintain that philosophy that you will not deteriorate into some industrial polluting town, they wanna contribute to the environment, rather than to deteriorate [it]. (Howard)

As of place dependence, James and Elisabeth are a couple and every year they enjoy harvesting fruits

U

in wild places or other orchards, and Elisabeth said that the project made her like SADB more

N

because it allowed them to find again something that they had had and enjoyed in their previous

TE

D

Current state

M

Food and food system knowledge

A

municipality.

Factors participants mentioned concerning choosing groceries were personal (health, taste, price)

EP

and social (trust, encouraging the economy)—health being a particularly important factor for them. What they considered a healthy diet resembled the governmental recommendations, though some

CC

also mentioned organic foods. Participants favored local foods for reasons of taste or freshness, or because they had greater trust in Quebecois producers or regulatory agencies for minimizing

A

applied chemicals, or to encourage the local economy or by patriotism, and environmental reasons were not mentioned.

24

Impacts

For impacts on food knowledge, several participants had been involved, through the orchard, in events of learning or teaching about fruit trees, either between parents and children, strangers,

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neighbors, or through the labels placed on the trees. For example, Luka learned to recognize raspberry bushes while walking on the path with his mother. Mary was given a fruit to taste by a

stranger who had picked it, one day while she was walking on the path, whereby she learned that the tree was producing edible fruits. Amy, who never picked fruits on her own because she fears

they are poisonous, had once tasted a berry given to her by her neighbor who had picked it in the

U

orchard, thereby learning of the existence and taste of that berry. Adrian was eating the raspberries

N

one day when a woman passed by and asked him if the fruits were edible, to which he answered yes

A

(but she did not try them).

M

Impacts on food system knowledge were not observed.

TE

Current state

D

Environmental knowledge

EP

Among the factors influencing their buying decisions for food, clothes and cleaning products,

CC

concerns about price, convenience, personal health and the health of others, trust, and the local economy were mentioned, and environmental concerns were rarely discussed.

A

Impacts

Impacts on environmental knowledge were not observed. We note however that the orchard did elicit thoughts about the global environment. Indeed, some thought that the fruit trees would entice

25

people to think more about nature or to plant fruit trees, while others mentioned that the interaction with the orchard led them to thinking about “nature”: It’s just a very pleasant feeling that you could just go ahead and pick an apple right off the

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tree and eat it, […] it gives you […] a feeling of… continuance with nature I suppose. (Howard)

They should plant the fruit trees […] [as] a reminder for people […] to respect the environment they are in. (Luka)

Also, environmental themes were sometimes brought up in the context of fruit trees, such as the

N

U

fauna, planting trees, bees, exchanging with nature, pollution and chemicals.

M

A

Interest in participation

Many of the participants expressed that they would be interested in participating in group activities

D

for the maintenance or harvesting of the trees. Reasons mentioned were sometimes of a personal

TE

nature, such as exercising outdoors and learning something, but more frequently social, such as meeting people, bringing the community together, helping the community (if the fruits are

EP

distributed to food banks or to SADB’s poorer families), giving back something to the community after having “received” fruit from it, or sharing information and concerns between residents and the

CC

administration. For example, Howard said:

A

I would be interested in participating […] because I think it encourages […] people in the community facing with each other, and […] each one gets to know each other’s problems […], and information will feed back to the mayor, and to the councillors, so I think it would […] make the community stronger. (Howard) 26

And, Mary, who had no interest in harvesting on her own and did not volunteer in other organized activities, said: Yeah, to help out, and maybe, whatever you are doing, if you could see something down the

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road, what you have done to help, so, yeah, I would. (Mary) Even Adrian, who suffered from a speech disability as a result of a brain injury and therefore was not highly interested in socializing, was interested in helping out:

Watering and then, yeah actually I don’t have problem with this. They [are] close to my

house. It’s good idea, I don’t have any problem with this […]. Oh, always you gonna find the

N

U

time, for some things, and then yeah, actually it’s good idea. (Adrian)

A

Howard also believed such activities would be more effective in bringing a diversity of people

M

together than are other typical group activities:

I think [other activities] tend to be very restricted, like the older people tend to go

D

for bingo, or bowling, the younger people go for salsa dancing, […] etc., [while] this

CC

EP

Discussion

TE

is more for everybody to participate, or everybody can get use of. (Howard)

A

Overall

Though the public urban orchard in SADB is young and not yet highly productive, in this exploratory study we found that it has already had positive impacts on at least three of the four social phenomena studied, namely social capital, place attachment, and food knowledge. (Interestingly, these impacts were also mentioned by the participants among the benefits of the 27

fruit trees.) No impacts were observed on some components of social capital (linking social capital, sense of community and neighboring), food system knowledge and environmental knowledge. This could be due to the limitations of this study, or the orchard project might be too young for such impacts—these impacts could be studied in future research. We also suggest that they would

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probably be facilitated by supplementing the orchard project with information boards and participatory activities (see “Improving impacts” below).

Usage and appreciation of the fruit trees

U

Our results suggest that the current usage and appreciation of the orchard is relatively high, with

N

most participants having already tasted at least one fruit and looking forward to the time when the

A

trees would be more productive. Most of them had never foraged wild fruits previously, suggesting

M

that public orchards have the potential to reach out to non-foragers (about half of the population in Massachusetts, USA (Short Gianotti and Hurley, 2016)). The participants appreciated several

D

features specific to fruit trees, such as their beauty and scent.

TE

However, even when participants were positive towards the trees, they would not necessarily readily pick and eat any fruit, and various reasons for this were provided, such as fear of worms,

EP

lack of habit, or lack of knowledge. Notably, the participants who were more reluctant to pick

CC

generally nevertheless had had extensive and enjoyable harvesting experiences in private orchards (that is, spaces solely dedicated to fruit growing). This suggests that produce from a place primarily

A

dedicated to another function than food growing might be less desirable for some (and this could be one reason why urban residents forage less than rural ones do (Short Gianotti and Hurley, 2016)). Also, we found some evidence of a relationship between openness to picking and eating fruits and having had fruit harvesting experiences as a child. This result, if substantiated by studies on larger samples, would be concordant with the finding that childhood experiences are a crucial factor for 28

shaping adult behavior towards nature and the environment (Chawla, 2009; Chawla and Derr, 2012), and would constitute another important benefit of growing food in public spaces (as several participants mentioned).

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Knowledge and appreciation of orchard as a city project

Most participants were positive towards the orchard as a city project, but the fact that they already greatly appreciated their city and the bike path might have encouraged this reaction. Indeed,

according to Mihaylov and Perkins (2014), the attachment that residents have for their place affects

U

how they perceive changes upon it. Appreciation of the orchard might also depend on having

N

personal interest in the fruit: in our sample, the only two participants who thought that regular

A

trees should have been planted instead of fruit trees (because they require less maintenance) were

M

among the three who also had no or very little interest in picking the fruit. Knowledge about the orchard project and its purpose as a city initiative was low among our sample,

D

suggesting that the communication strategy used by the city administration (pamphlet delivered to

TE

houses) could be improved, and this might be important for positive impacts on residents’ trust in

EP

the city administration (see “Improving impacts” below).

CC

Impacts on social capital

Evidence of positive impacts was found for several of the social capital subcomponents studied:

A

bonding and bridging social capital, citizen participation, and trust in the city administration. Impacts on trust in the city administration however appeared to depend on levels of maintenance and communication perceived as adequate by the residents. Therefore, use of permaculture principles, as promoted by the city council member, without appropriate education might be 29

problematic in this respect, since it could be perceived as merely lack of maintenance by unknowing observers. Also, though they did not explicitly mention it, for the two participants who were against the project it is possible that the orchard negatively impacted their trust in the

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administration. Though impacts on sense of community were not observed, our observations suggest various means through which they could occur: 1) providing a means of actively sharing communal

resources, for example if some features were implemented for enhancing equal sharing; 2) making the community feel more unique to its residents (an important component of their current place

U

attachment); 3) contributing to making the bike path into a Third Place (a place that allows and

N

fosters informal and repeated interactions between individuals in a community (Oldenburg, 1991))

A

and thereby contributing to building their sense of community—the bike path is already considered a socializing place by several participants, and the fruit trees could enhance this characteristic by

M

providing a means of engaging conversation, as we found to have had already occurred on a few

D

occasions.

TE

Overall, our findings show that, just like community gardens, public produce can positively affect social capital, even though it does not on its own encourage interactions through shared activities

EP

in an enclosed space. Impacts on trust in the city administration (if the initiative is linked to the city

CC

administration) are probably more likely and more widespread than for community gardens. However, one can envision situations in which negative impacts could ensue (e.g., if the residents

A

highly dislike fruit trees, or if resource scarcity triggers animosity), and this requires further study.

30

Impacts on place attachment

We found evidence of impacts for all three subcomponents of place attachment studied, namely place definition, place dependence, and place bonding.

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Our observations also suggest that the participants’ current definition of SADB could be reinforced by strengthening their view of SADB as a green, environmentally conscious, and family-oriented

place. In the latter case, this could occur by providing a place where 1) residents can harvest as a family activity—many participants, including those against the orchard project, perceived

harvesting fruits in orchards with their children as an especially enjoyable family activity; and

U

where 2) children can learn about fruit trees, alone or from their parents, and develop a taste for

N

fruit—several participants mentioned that this would be a valuable impact of the orchard, and one

A

instance of such an event has already taken place (see Results on social capital). Future impacts on

M

place definition might therefore be more substantial.

D

Our observations also suggest that impacts on place bonding can take place through: 1) enhancing

TE

the feeling of ownership (one participant developed a feeling of ownership towards the blackcurrants from which she harvests, which in turn makes her feel more responsible towards the

EP

orchard); 2) providing sensorial pleasures; 3) enhancing their appreciation of an already appreciated feature of SADB, namely the bike path; 4) preserving the feeling of safety, shown to be

CC

positively linked to place attachment (Dallago et al., 2009); 5) providing “gifts” (one participant perceived the fruit as a “gift”); and 6) enhancing the appreciated uniqueness of their place.

A

However, in our sample impacts on place bonding were seen only in those participants who appeared to be already emotionally bonded to SADB. It is unclear whether the orchard could increase place bonding in residents who do not already have these feelings. For instance, it is

31

possible that whether residents bond or not with their place also depends on personal factors independent of place characteristics, such as personality. In line with the framework developed by Mihaylov and Perkins (2014), several interactions

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between social capital and place attachment were found: participants were often in part attached to SADB for reasons related to their social capital, especially neighboring and trust in the city

administration; whether the project increased the attachment to their place was often tightly linked to how it affected their perception of the city administration; and whether the project increased their trust in the city administration appeared linked to how they defined SADB (e.g., whether

U

environmental-consciousness was a characteristic of SADB for them). Also, based on that

N

framework we could expect that the orchard project, by reinforcing social capital and place

A

attachment, will have positive impacts on the community resilience of SADB, and thus its

M

environmental resilience.

D

Impacts on food and environmental knowledge

TE

Our results suggest that public produce could serve as an effective means for people to learn about food growing. Indeed, events in which knowledge about fruit trees had been communicated or

EP

shared were common, despite limited participants’ knowledge about and interaction with the trees.

CC

(However, it is possible that this result was enhanced by the participants’ interest in eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.) Also, many participants believed that the orchard could provide a

A

means for people—children in particular—to learn about fruit trees and where food comes from, or to develop an appreciation for fruit. Evidence that the orchard had had an impact on participants’ food system or environmental knowledge and awareness was not found in our sample. While this could be due to the limitations 32

of the scope of this research or to the newness of the orchard, it is also possible that a prior notion of the food system or the global environment needs to be sufficiently developed for the orchard to encourage further learning about them—and it is possible that the limited mention of these notions by the participants indicates that in their case it was not. Still, concerning environmental

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knowledge, the fact that environmental themes were sometimes brought up in the context of fruit trees, to which the participants appeared to have an emotional bond, suggests that the orchard might increase receptiveness to and interest in environmental knowledge.

U

Ensuring and maximizing positive impacts

N

This study revealed the complexity of material and social factors that can negatively affect the

A

perception and usage of the fruit trees by the residents. City administrations wishing to plant fruit

M

trees on their public spaces should pay close attention to these (and possibly others), to ensure that their project is successful.

D

First, the trees should be welcome at all stages, and their fruit be harvested, since littering could

TE

negatively affect the residents’ perception and usage of the trees. To ensure this, the location, nature and density of the trees planted should match the residents’ prior openness to fruit trees,

EP

and if necessary the production density should only be increased gradually. For example, one might

CC

need to avoid, at first, planting in locations less likely to be associated with food growing, such as downtown sidewalks, in neighborhoods or cities that are less open to harvesting, or else ensure

A

that means are taken to encourage usage, such as public consultations, participatory activities and providing more information. Concerning the nature of the trees, some species might be more readily accepted than others, such as berries, as our results suggested. Bike paths might be particularly good places to start, since, as mentioned by the City Council member who developed the project in SADB, littering from fallen fruits on a bike path is likely to be less of a concern for 33

urban residents than, e.g., in a highly visited park; however, we believe that plantings should not be limited to bike paths since these are not accessible or accessed by all. Public consultations might also be very helpful to ensure that the project is designed in a way that will please the residents.

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Second, it is not sufficient for the trees to be sufficiently harvested—one must also ensure that they are harvested by the greatest proportion of people and in a fair manner, and that they do encourage interactions among people and their reflections about the food system and the environment. Again, the location, nature and density of the trees will affect this (e.g., ensuring that the location is inviting enough to entice interactions between people), as well as the way to project is

U

implemented (e.g., taking means to ensure that the harvest is fairly shared; that the presence of

N

worms in fruit is not a deterrent to those who are not used to this, such as younger generations;

A

that the appropriate information is supplied and in an accessible way).

M

In addition, our results suggest two additions to the SADB orchard project that might improve its

information to the residents.

D

impacts on the four social phenomena studied: participatory activities and providing more

TE

Concerning participatory activities, almost all participants in our sample showed high interest, for

EP

personal and social reasons, in participating in the maintenance and harvesting of the orchard. This was surprising since most of them generally preferred using the bike path alone, and since not all of

CC

them were interested in volunteering for other community activities. It is possible that this reflects the high sense of community observed in SADB. For example, in a study conducted in Peru, only

A

about half of the participants manifested interest for personally participating in tree management of potential urban fruit trees (however, the orchard in this case was still hypothetical) (Lafontaine and Olivier, 2017). Still, other studies suggest that social interactions are among people’s most important motivations for participating in community gardening, and among the important reasons 34

for its positive impact on health (Guitart et al., 2012; Litt et al., 2015), suggesting that interest in participating in such activities is indeed common. Therefore, we suggest that, if implemented, participatory activities could improve the impacts on the four social phenomena studied either directly or indirectly through the mechanisms presented in the Introduction, as well as by

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facilitating the spread of knowledge—though the impacts might be particularly prominent for

components of social capital such as bridging and linking social capital and sense of community. Activities could include, for example, project design and choice of species (as mentioned by one

participant), communication, monitoring and weeding (the most important cause of death for the

planted trees has been inadvertent mistreatment by the workers employed by a third party to weed

A

N

chief gardener and the city council member (see Setting).

U

the site). The choice of activities and the design of the program should address the concerns of the

Regarding the provision of more information to SADB residents and users of the site, it could

M

improve their level of knowledge regarding the presence of the fruit trees and the edibility of their

D

fruit, the trees’ ecological properties and their links with the local fauna and flora, how and when to

TE

pick fruits (for ripeness, not damaging trees, and ensuring equal sharing), and how and why the city undertook this project. Also, as the orchard opens the concept of urban nature as a provider of

EP

goods, indications regarding local edible wild foods or usable goods could also be made. It could also be the occasion to introduce, and link the orchard to, more abstract and large-scale information

CC

about the food system and the global environment. Indeed, such information might be more easily absorbed when attached to emotionally-significant objects, and fruit trees, which are perennial and

A

usually perceived as beautiful, have the potential to elicit such emotional attachment. All this information could increase impacts directly, as well as indirectly by increasing usage. It could be provided, for example, by supplementing the site with information boards.

35

Limitations

It is important to note some potential limitations to our study. In particular, it is difficult to say to which extent our results are transferable to other contexts.

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First, all participants but one were above fifty, so it is unclear whether the same impacts would be observed on younger generations, who might have a different attitude toward picking non-sprayed fruits growing on public spaces.

Second, given our sampling strategy, it is possible we recruited sociable people, thereby introducing

U

bias towards greater social capital impacts.

N

Third, some idiosyncratic characteristics of the case-study site might make it more likely to be

A

positively impacted by the orchard. The place (bike path) where the fruit trees are located is

M

already highly appreciated by the residents, which might prime them to be more receptive to the trees. Also, SADB is partly rural in character, particularly green, and apparently particularly

D

sociable and environmentally-conscious. Thus, our results may not be observed in cities that are

TE

very different in these respects. For example, in Massachusetts, USA, rural residents were found to be more likely than urban residents to practice foraging and to view it positively (Short Gianotti

EP

and Hurley, 2016).

CC

Finally, the public orchard in SADB is new, and public orchards in Canada are rare. It is unclear what the impact of a new orchard would be in a place where public fruit trees are already a

A

common practice, as is the case in cities like Rome or Sevilla (Adams, 2015; Lenhart, 2013), or in the developing world, where contact with food growing is more common than it is in industrialized countries (Hamilton et al., 2014).

36

Conclusion We have studied the potential socio-environmental impacts of public produce in a public urban orchard located along a bike path in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec. To our knowledge this is the

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first study of the impacts of public produce. Our results suggest that public orchards can have

positive impacts on social capital, place attachment, and food knowledge. (Though, just as for any form of food production, proper measures should be taken to limit the health risks due to

pollution—see, e.g., von Hoffen and Säumel (2014).) More work is required to find if and how they could positively impact knowledge about the food system or the environment at large. This

U

research also identified several means through which the potential negative impacts of public

N

urban orchards could be limited and the positive ones ensured, such as: sufficiently informing

A

residents about the project and its links to the environment; ensuring that there is a sufficient

M

number of specimens and species that are well appreciated and appropriately located; minimizing

D

the impacts of practical issues such as littering, maintenance, unequal sharing and potential presence of worms in fruit. We suggest that supplementing the orchard with participatory activities

TE

and more information could enhance impacts on all these social phenomena.

EP

Our results show that, similarly to community gardens and food foraging, public produce could serve as a potentially effective and cost-effective means of improving the resilience and pro-

CC

environmental behavior of communities. This lends further support to the call made by others to reconceptualise and manage urban nature not only as a provider of services, but also of goods, in

A

order to improve environmental sustainability (McLain et al., 2014). Some impacts of public produce, however, might be unique, such as its impacts on trust in the city administration—which might be even more specific to public orchards. Also, its impacts might reach out to a wider proportion of the population than foraging or community gardening, since these probably require 37

more prior knowledge and interest. Public produce, therefore, might have an especially multidimensional capacity to encourage the material and social reconnection and reintegration that is arguably needed for a more sustainable food production system (McClintock, 2010). In addition, if city administrations were to systematically incorporate food production within urban green

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spaces, perhaps they could, through this “iconic” form of urban planning (Éthier, 2015), make the

statement that boundaries between usages and people should be lessened, and thereby encourage a shift in mentality towards a more holistic and relationship-based view of the world (Brown and

Garver, 2009) that might be better able to navigate the complex needs of a more sustainable future

U

(Bar-Yam, 2005).

N

This study should be of interest to city administrations seeking cost-effective means of improving

A

the health and wellbeing of urban residents and their relationship with them, and of positively contributing to socio-environmental sustainability (James et al., 2009). It should also be of interest

M

to ethnobiologists studying urban residents’ interaction with urban nature (Emery and Hurley,

D

2016). We hope that this work will encourage further studies on public produce and public urban

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orchards and on the effects of supplementing projects with participatory activities or more information. We also hope that the framework developed herein will inspire others to pursue the

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development of a comprehensive and transferable framework for assessing socio-environmental

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impacts of urban planning projects.

Funding Sources:

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This work received grant support from the McGill University Natural Resources Department.

Acknowledgements: 38

We thank Dr. Cécile Aenisaenslin, Prof. Elena Bennett, Prof. Eric Duchemin, Dr. Nikolaos Gryspolakis and Prof. Nicolas Kosoy for their help with the development of the project, and Prof. Peter Brown for his guidance and supervision throughout the project. We thank Prof. Graham MacDonald and

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improve the manuscript, and Eric Crawford for proofreading.

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two anonymous reviewers for their insightful and detailed comments which allowed to significantly

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Germany. Ecotoxicol. Environ. Saf. 101, 233–239. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2013.11.023

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berries, pome and stone fruits harvested within the inner city neighbourhoods in Berlin,

Wolch, J.R., Byrne, J., Newell, J.P., 2014. Urban green space, public health, and environmental justice: The challenge of making cities “just green enough.” Landsc. Urban Plan. 125, 234–244.

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https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2014.01.017

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Wolf, J., Adger, W.N., Lorenzoni, I., Abrahamson, V., Raine, R., 2010. Social capital, individual

A

responses to heat waves and climate change adaptation: An empirical study of two UK

M

cities. Glob. Environ. Change 20, 44–52. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2009.09.004 Worsley, A., 2002. Nutrition knowledge and food consumption: can nutrition knowledge change

TE

6047.11.supp3.7.x

D

food behaviour? Asia Pac. J. Clin. Nutr. 11, S579–S585. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1440-

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Yin, R.K., 2016. Qualitative Research from Start to Finish, 2nd ed. The Guilford Press.

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U

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Figure captions

N

Figure 2 Impacts of the public urban orchard in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue (Quebec) observed for the four social

A

phenomena under study. Left: Impacts observed. Positive impacts were found on most of the social capital and place

M

attachment subcomponents studied (thick arrows). Impacts observed on food and environmental knowledge were lower than expected: no impacts were observed on the participants’ environmental knowledge (bulleted arrow), and evidence

D

was found of impacts on food knowledge, but not on knowledge of the food system (thin arrow). Right: Hypothesized

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impacts if participatory activities and more information were available (thicker arrows); the results suggest that implementing participatory activities around the orchard maintenance and harvesting as well as providing users with more information about the orchard and its relationships with the food system and the local and global environment

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could increase impacts on the four social phenomena.

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Figure 3. Location of the public orchard in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. The red ellipse shows the area where the fruit

A

trees have been planted along the bike path (green line) that connects the northern and southern neighborhoods (Google

A

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EP

TE

D

M

Maps, 2016).

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Figure 4. The orchard in Spring (top and middle) and Fall (bottom) 2015. Top: fruit trees between the bike path and the road (left), blackcurrants (right). Middle: grapevines growing on a stone wall (left) and an area with several clustered

A

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trees (apples, Asian pears, mulberry) (right). Bottom: Asian pear, apple, and raspberries.

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Table 1. Background information on the participants. Participant

Age,

Place of origin; places where

pseudonym

gender

parents grew up

Luka

22, M

Occupation(s)

Island of Montreal; Eastern

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Student

Europe Jenny

54, F

Montreal; Estrie

Nursing instructor

Mary

67, F

Quebec City; Quebec

Nurse (retired)

Chief Financial Officer in food

Howard#

77, M

England; Ireland, Canada

U

industry (retired)

58, M

Poland; Poland

Technician

Mathieu*

55, M

Quebec; Quebec

Denise#

67, F

Island of Montreal; Estrie

James#

54, M

Maine, Montreal; USA

Engineer Court clerk (retired) Horticulture teacher, agronomist

Elisabeth#

51, F

D

M

A

N

Adrian

Gardener, librarian

Jeanne

52, F

Quebec; Quebec

Beautician

Amy

56, F

Montreal; China

Banker

EP

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Island of Montreal; Quebec

* works in SADB but resides in a different municipality.

A

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# obtained through snowball sampling via Mary.

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