Two fall semester Lafayette College courses engaged in a joint project with Easton’s West Ward Neighborhood Partnership (WWNP), a program of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley (CACLV).  The project helped WWNP learn more about how the community perceives its neighborhood and backyard garden initiative.  The study was focused around the gardens at South 10th and Pine, 5th Street, Walnut Street, and Walter House.

The sixteen students in a Marketing Research course collected quantitative data through a series of short surveys.  The fifteen Food, Culture, & Sustainable Societies students used in-depth qualitative data gathered during interviews with residents and gardeners.  Students came from a variety of majors, and developed the survey goals and questions in partnership with the WWNP to understand preferences for plantings, uses of the gardens, impacts on eating habits, and ways to engage community members in the garden.  The students presented the data to community members and interested campus groups with a joint presentation during finals week.  They received feedback and took questions after the presentations and then broke into small groups to create initial recommendations for improved marketing of the garden and ideas for engaging more community members—including seniors and school-aged children—to work in the garden.

The courses were taught by Drs. Christopher Ruebeck (Economics) and Crystal Fortwangler (Environmental Sciences and Environmental Studies).  It is their hope that it will help to guide discussions of policy-making with regard to community gardens in Easton.

For more information contact Christopher Ruebeck,