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Georgia Pollard

Sch Natural & Built Environments

Telephone: +61 8830 29915

Email: georgia.pollard@mymail.unisa.edu.au


About me


Hi, my name is Georgia Pollard and I am an urban agriculture scientist.

I am keenly interested in urban agriculture, people growing food in urban areas using all different types of production methods. I'm currently researching the productivity, resource efficiency and social value of urban food South Australia. This includes collecting data on how much food gardeners are producing, what production methods and approaches they are use, the quantities of inputs required to grow that food, and the social value growing urban food can hold for households and communities.

Read an early press release from UniSA about my Edible Gardens Project.

I am also interested in science communication. For science to be meaningful, relevant and useful it needs to be effectively communicated. Effective science communication can be as simple as putting extra effort into making your graphs, charts and presentations clear, creative and engaging, or as sophisticated as creating multiple layers of opportunity for people to read, hear, watch and understand your research.

Visit my blog, All Kinds of Understanding: Successful Science Communication to find out more.

Why does urban agriculture research matter?

With concerns over the ongoing availability of resources such as, fresh water, fertile topsoil, fertilisers and fuel for transportation, people are turning their sights to urban agriculture and its potential to contribute to our future food systems and the sustainability of our cities in the future.

Curiously, we do not currently know how much food people are producing themselves at their homes, community gardens and schools. We also have very little up-to-date empirical data on how much of the inputs such as water, money and time are required to grow that food. Home food gardens remain particularly understudied, in part due to their wide dispersion, position on private property and the sheer variety diversity of growing methods used.

Urban agriculture may be able to contribute to future proofing our towns and cities, create new job and business opportunities, help to reduce the cost of living, and improve urban food security. However, without large-scale data collection and analysis to form a baseline understanding of the actual contribution of current urban agriculture, we cannot be sure.

How will my research contribute?

The Edible Gardens project is a Discovery Circle project, a citizen science initiative of the University of South Australia. The project’s first step involved a comprehensive online survey asking food gardeners of South Australia about their gardens, motivations, challenges and to estimate how much water, time and money they invest into their food gardens. More than 400 people responded to the survey.

Suitable participants were then selected to receive a Data Collection Toolkit (complete with guidelines, data sheets, scales and water meters), and are instructed on how to collect data on their own food gardens. They submitted their data online to the Edible Gardens webpage where they could view their results as interactive charts and compare their results with those of other participating gardens. The project had 71 registered gardens. The data collection phases of this project are know closed as I analyse the data.

Have a look at the water use results of one of our participating gardens: 4H Garden

This measurement and collection of empirical data on urban agriculture in South Australia, will provide a strong basis for further evaluation of: the quantities of recorded inputs (water, time and money) being invested in current urban food production, calculation of resource efficiency – thereby highlighting potential areas for improvement and adaption, contribution to a more comprehensive economic evaluation of urban agriculture with the inclusion realistic water costs. This data can also be used to optimise theoretical urban agriculture calculations and predictions, assisting future research.    

The Edible Gardens Project launched in November 2016 with data collection continuing until May 2018. Analysis is now underway. Visit the Edible Gardens webpage to find out more:  http://www.discoverycircle.org.au/projects/edible-gardens/


Research publications


Pollard, Georgia; Ward, James and Koth Barbara. "Aquaponics in Urban Agriculture: Social Acceptance and Urban Food Planning." Horticulturae 3, no. 2 (2017): 39. Link: http://www.mdpi.com/2311-7524/3/2/39

Pollard, Georgia; Roetman, Philip and Ward, James. "The Case for Citizen Science in Urban Agriculture Research." Future of Food: Journal on Food, Agriculture and Society 5, no. 3 (2017): 9-20. Link: http://futureoffoodjournal.org/index.php/journal/article/view/298

Pollard Georgia; Ward, James and Roetman, Philip. "Typically Diverse: The Nature of Urban Agriculture in South Australia". Sustainability 10, no. 4 (2018): 945. Link: http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/10/4/945

Pollard Georgia; Ward, James and Roetman, Philip. Water Use Efficiency in Urban Food Gardens: Insights from a Systematic Review and Case Study. Horticulturae 2018, 4, 27. Link: http://www.mdpi.com/2311-7524/4/3/27

Pollard, Georgia; Roetman, Philip; Ward, James; Chiera, Belinda and Mantzioris, Evangeline. Beyond Productivity: Considering the Health, Social Value and Happiness of Home and Community Food Gardens. Urban Science 2018, 2(4), 97. Link: https://www.mdpi.com/2413-8851/2/4/97


Online resources


Explore the Edible Gardens Project webpage

Visit my science communication blog: All Kinds of Understanding, Effective Science Communication

Or click to connect on LinkedIn