This semester, our team has discussed the problems and difficulties of the project. First, we talked about how to gain access to the interview with potential research participants. My teammates shared their stories and tips; as for me personally, I found asking permission from individuals was much easier than asking the institutions directly. In the meantime, we realized that maintaining a good relationship with the participant after the interview had been done was equally important. For example, when I completed my interview, the interviewee invited me to join the opening day of her businesses, which on the other hand could also be an opportunity for further research studies in the future. Finally, we also talked about how to overcome our shyness when we reached out to the participants, creating a comfortable space for them as well as us.
The discovery of the horticultural community in New York City has been an exciting study for me on the project. I learned how they developed and practiced their philosophy in this small subculture; having plants in their lives meant maintaining self-care in an urban setting where the power of nature was strictly limited. Moreover, the fast-paced urban life also had an impact on their practice of urban horticulture. For example, many owners had to abandon their plants while moving to new houses. Thus, the community developed the idea of “rescuing plants” or “plant adoption”, similar to animal rescues, to share the responsibility of taking care of the environment.
Compared to my teammates who focus on nonprofit environmental-related institutions, I decided to concentrate on the business aspect of environmental discourse in New York City. I have discovered a few businesses which try to maintain environmentally ethical while gaining profits. I hope I will expand the research data and include more research participants in future studies.