Reading Summary The Garden and the Red Barn

Reading Summary




Reading Summary

 The Garden and the Red Barn

This article discusses pastoralism and land use within the United States. Of particular concern is the attitude towards environmental management. Previously, little attention was given to countryside landscapes. The paper sought to reexamine the popular notion of contemporary pastoralism using two concepts: the garden and the red barn (Schauman, 1998). The essay uses a massive a mount of visualization techniques and this has the effect of convincing the reader by painting a vivid picture in their minds. The organization of the paper took a chronological approach that delved into the history of land use. The constant degradation of natural landscapes by agricultural activities is a process that has been occurring for over five decades. The relevance of the chronology was that it revealed the progress of decline in appreciation of natural landscapes. The reader has an opportunity to understand how civilization contributed to the change in environmental perceptions. The prediction that the future American generation will have little connection with the countryside is true. Using the historical trends, the paper was able to make an accurate estimation that real countryside will be replaced with fabricated and artificial ones. The author’s explanation includes an aspect of intentional ignorance of the dilapidated landscape that is in line with other related studies on the same topic. My personal opinion of the article is that it was elaborate, accurate, and relevant to the topics of public spaces and geography. The authors took great care in organizing their arguments on the need to preserve natural landscapes and regulate agricultural activities. I think that the data provided in the study is enough proof of the need for the current generation to rethink their attitudes concerning the environment. However, I also felt that more wok was necessary in reinforcing the correlation between assumed perceptions of the environment and the actual natural landscape.

Reaping on the Margins

The paper discussed the development of organized garden plots that are created by small-scale gardeners as part of the traditional agricultural practices among Europeans. Furthermore, it analyzed the way in which agricultural movements have evolved within the United States. The main motivation behind the movements was the need to assist society in adjusting to tough economic times. In the paper, community gardening was singled out as the most recent form of gardening designed to institute a wide variety of benefits including patriotism, aesthetics, work relief, and appreciation for nature.

The paper’s approach towards the issue concerning nature and man was effective in that it successfully managed to relay the message that agriculture played a major role in American lifestyle. By arranging the agricultural movements in a chronological fashion, it was relatively easy to follow through with the progress. Geopolitics has always been an interesting theme for most scholars in the geography field and Thomas Bassett managed to create a strong correlation between agricultural activities, geographical locations and consequent economic activities. Most of the previous studies on agrarian economic activities equally reiterate Bassett’s idea of the progress from potato patches in 1890s to community gardens in the present (Bassett, 1981). The author was limited in comparing his work to other related studies although he mentioned other renowned contributors such as Henry Parsons who had invested heavily in the oats business.

In my opinion, the paper was very informative and thorough. It contained accurate information that was arranged in a chronological fashion. The chronology was useful in outlining the progress of the agricultural movements within the United States. I thought that the discussion on how community gardening was influential in supporting the social framework was very relevant to the studies on nature and geography. However, I also felt that several areas needed improvement. Future studies on the same topic should seek to strengthen the argument in favor of the benefits provided by nature. I felt that a greater part was still missing from the discourse.



Schauman, S. (1998). The Garden and the Red Barn: The Pervasive Pastoral and Its Environmental Consequences. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 56, 2, 181.

Bassett, T.J. (1981). Reaping on the margins: a century of community gardening in America. Landscape. 25, 2. 230.


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