Growing consumers through production and play: a phenomenological exploration of food growing in the school foodscape

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


External organisations

  • Keele University


This article adopts a phenomenological perspective to illustrate how gardens become important spaces where children informally encounter, produce, consume and learn about food. We extend the theoretical concept of the ‘foodscape’ by applying it to both childhood production and consumption and, drawing on qualitative insights from two UK school gardening clubs, show why bodily and sensory phenomena are central to unlocking the potential for foodscapes as learning environments. We highlight how sensory engagement with ‘mess’ and ‘dirt’ normally dissociated from food retail and service enhances the agentic capacity of children as growers and consumers. Our central contribution to the sociology of food is to advance the argument that sensory learning is vital if children are to successfully negotiate between abstract and experiential awareness of the taste and source of myriad consumables, something which currently exacerbates the culture of anxiety and mistrust in contemporary food consumption.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)468-485
Number of pages18
Issue number3
Early online date13 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • Children, food production, foodscapes, mess, outdoor education, phenomenology, school gardens

ASJC Scopus subject areas