Mary Ryan

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Geology and Geography

Committee Chair

Bradley Wilson

Committee Co-Chair

Cheryl Brown

Committee Member

Jonathan Hall


Community gardening is being used to address food inequality as an alternative food network. Most literature looks at community gardening in urban contexts. Less is known about community gardening in rural areas. My research was able to address how community gardening contributes to food sovereignty in WV and how garden leaders help contribute to this access to food sovereignty. Through a survey of 19 community gardens across West Virginia I show the organization and use of these gardens. Through interviews with 11 of those gardens, I was able to learn about how garden leaders' frame their gardens' goals and importance to the community. In return these frames show how WV gardens view their movement in an apolitical way vs. the more political goals of the food sovereignty movement. On the other hand, the gardens are able to use food sovereignty to help the food security, food access, and health of their communities.