First Advisor

Nathan McClintock

Date of Publication

Fall 11-13-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Urban Studies (M.U.S.)


Urban Studies and Planning




Community gardens -- Oregon -- Portland -- Case studies, Urban agriculture -- Oregon -- Portland, Community development -- Oregon -- Portland, Volunteer workers in community development -- Oregon -- Portland



Physical Description

1 online resource (iv, 62 pages)


The Fruits of Diversity Community Orchard, located in Portland, Oregon in an affordable housing neighborhood, is a site of alternative food provisioning in which a group of people, organized by two nonprofits, work together to manage fruit and nut producing plants. Through conversations with volunteers who participate regularly and participant observation, this study explores the questions: What does community mean in the context of a community orchard? In what ways does partnering with a nonprofit from outside the neighborhood influence community and the way the project is operationalized?

This thesis situates community orchards within the literature on alternative food networks (AFN) and highlights three key findings drawing on literature about community development and race in AFNs. First, neighbors and non-neighbors who participate in the project propose different definitions of community. Second, neighbor involvement is limited by a number of factors, including neighborhood divisions and organizational challenges. Notably, orchard participants do not reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the neighborhood, putting this project at risk of creating a white space in a majority people of color neighborhood and reproducing inequality rather than fighting against it. Finally, this research complicates the notion of community in alternative food networks and demonstrates how collaborating with an organization from outside the neighborhood impacted the community through increasing non-neighbor participation and through their communications, aesthetics, decision making, and inattention to racial dynamics in the neighborhood and orchard.


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