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Uncovering the Plot: Investigating Urban Agriculture in Dublin

The map above shows the location of allotment sites in the Dublin area. See interactive map here.

By Michael Cullen
September 2008

A thesis submitted to the Dublin Institute of Technology in part fulfilment of the requirements for the award of M.Sc. in Culinary Innovation and Food Product Development

This study investigates Urban Agriculture (UA) in Dublin. This concept encompasses those who are engaged in growing their own in an urban environment. The study investigates why there has been a rise in UA over the past 15 years with the focus of the study being on allotments, a historical form of UA.

The objectives of the study include investigating the concept of urban agriculture, to examine the history of allotments in Dublin, to aid an understanding of modern UA in Dublin. The study focuses on the motivations of the allotment holders as well as uncovering the types and varieties of food being produced on their allotments.

The methodology of the study was qualitative, which provided rich data sources to inform the discussion. The methods employed were semi-structured interviews and direct observations. Allotment holders at two allotment sites were the population sample interviewed chosen based on the total population of allotments in Dublin, with the majority of the population being located in south Dublin. Along with interviews on allotment sites, the researcher undertook interviews a representative of Dublin City Council and a Minister of the current Government.

The findings of the researcher indicated a revival in the interest of allotment holding in south Dublin. Allotments were formerly located on sites due for development; presently they have a fixed tenure in regional parks. There is also an association to represent them at local and national level. Motivations for holders included a desire for fresh food and socialisation around a common interest of food growing.

The conclusions of the study illustrate a growth in different forms of UA in Dublin including a revival in allotments, an interest in community gardens and people growing their own in a domestic setting.

The entire 160 page document can be downloaded here.

See Dublin Food Growing here.

See Irish Allotments here.