Eco-social Work in Action: A Place for Community Gardens

Document Type

Journal Article




Social Work Program / Faculty of Regional Professional Studies


Originally published as:

Bailey, S., Hendrick, A., & Palmer, M. (2018). Eco-social Work in Action: A Place for Community Gardens. Australian Social Work, 71(1), 98-110. doi:10.1080/0312407X.2017.1384032

Original article available here.


In this paper, the authors theorise on eco-social work, an emerging descriptor for practices located at the intersection of social work and eco-justice. It presents a collaborative auto-ethnographic study undertaken by three social work academics that addressed the question: In what ways can community gardens be sites for eco-social work practice? The question was premised on the idea that community gardens are often recognised as sites for practising sustainability. An action learning research framework guided a process in and with three different community gardens. Specifically, this paper highlights practices that suggest community gardens are spaces for social work practice including: resistance to the dominant discourses of hyper-capitalism and consumerism; the building of trust and cooperation in relationships; and the development of egalitarian relationships between people and, ultimately, all elements of the natural realm. The findings suggest that community gardens can be spaces for practising eco-social work.