The socioeconomic and cultural significance of food gardening in the Vladimir Region of Russia
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Russia's family gardens currently produce over half of the country's agricultural output and represent a major sector of the country's economy, involving two thirds of the population. Despite this prominence, household gardening has been viewed as a recent phenomenon, an adjunct to the country's industrial agriculture, or a temporary response to the hardships of Russia's economic transition. However, this study of the current status of family agriculture, Russia's agrarian history, and the results of a 2006 survey of 1,500 families in the Vladimir region, show that gardens not only perform a wide range of economic, social and cultural functions, but also represent a highly sustainable practice embedded in the region's and the country's environmental, socioeconomic, and cultural context. The survey offers detailed information on the economic, agricultural, social, and cultural dimensions of gardening in the Vladimir region, including respondents' adherence to a wide range of agrarian values. Based on the results, family gardening can be seen as a highly sustainable, diversified and culturally important practice, which needs to be given due consideration by scholars and policy-makers.