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Urban Gardening and Farming Practices and Crop Varieties

Project Information

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Project Title: Developing a framework for a participatory plant selection and breeding program for sustainable urban agriculture in metropolitan Chicago, IL

Responsible Principal Investigator: Sarah T. Lovell

Who is conducting this research?

Professor Sarah Taylor Lovell of the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is conducting a research study on urban crop plant varieties and gardening and farming practices in the city of Chicago and its suburbs

What does taking part in this study require? 

You are being asked to take part in a survey exploring the vegetable plant varieties that urban gardeners and farmers grow and the methods they use to grow them. Your perspective on these questions is important to ensure that future research on the selection and development of varieties adapted to urban growing conditions and practices is relevant to urban gardeners and farmers. The results of this survey will be used as a foundation for developing a framework for a participatory plant selection and breeding program—a program in which gardeners and farmers are active participants in the process. Results from the survey may be published as summary statistics. The survey will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. You may decline to respond to any question you do not wish to answer during the survey, and you may end the survey at any time. Participation in the entire study is completely voluntary. You may participate, decline, or withdraw from the study at any time.

Is this study confidential? 

Every effort will be made not to reveal personally identifiable information as part of the research project. To accomplish this, your name and other identifying information will be removed from your responses to the questionnaire after you have completed the survey. Your responses will be identified by a code number, and the key that connects you to that code number will be kept in a secure location separate from the information you provide. In reports, articles, presentations, and other documents based on study results, your actions or things you say may be presented without specific reference to you, reference only by a false name, or combined without any identifying information with the actions and words of other participants.

If I decide to participate, are there any risks? Are there any benefits?

Your participation in this project should not involve risks beyond those of ordinary life. While there will be no immediate benefits from your participation in the study, we expect study results to form the foundation for future research on the selection and breeding of crop plant varieties adapted to urban gardens and farms like yours. You may also find participating in the study to be a pleasurable experience during which you will have the opportunity to share your knowledge and experience of gardening and farming in the city. If you are a UIUC student or affiliate, please be aware that your decision to participate, decline, or withdraw from participation will have no effect on your current status or future relations with the University of Illinois.

Who do I contact if I have questions about the study? 

If you have any questions about this project, or if you wish to withdraw from the study, you may contact Professor Lovell by email at or by telephone at 217-244-3433. (Collect calls are accepted if you identify yourself as a research participant.) If you have any questions about your rights as a research participant in the study, please contact the University of Illinois Institutional Review Board by email at or by telephone at 217-333-3670. (Collect calls are accepted if you identify yourself as a research participant.)