Grace Metry

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Utilizing Hartford’s green space defined the original mission statement of KNOX. Over the past 50 years, however, KNOX has transformed into an organization that ranges from providing youth with job skills, to growing new urban gardens, to connecting people for the purpose of lowering social barriers and effecting change. Urban scholars note the power of “social capital” to increase opportunities for community activism. Strengthening a community’s social networks makes bridging differences and creating a sense of common purpose possible. We therefore ask the question: Is KNOX utilizing its gardens in the most effective way to increase the social capital of Hartford gardeners and neighborhoods? To answer this question I conducted two semi-structured interviews with community gardeners, 10 semi-structured surveys with KNOX employees, and produced a firsthand description of each garden location. There are currently twenty-two KNOX community gardens and five new gardens in the works. The goals for these gardens should be expanded to incorporate social capital goals, in order to realize the potential for community gains that could not otherwise be achieved. The success of this project depends on the ability to measure the social capital KNOX community gardens are providing now, and identify ways to increase it in the future.


Community Partner: KNOX