Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Geography and Sustainable Communities


In Australia, environmental debates around carrying capacity and food security are increasingly tinged with hostility toward ethnic minority migrants. Geographers have recently argued that ethnic minority migrants’ culturally specific knowledge may represent a “circuit-breaker” for Western groupthink concerning notions of sustainability (Head et al., 2018, p. 14). Small-scale agriculture has been recognised as one of the most effective ways of promoting biodiversity while feeding a growing urban population.

This thesis aims to reveal what forms of ecological knowledge ethnic minority migrants draw on from their countries of origin and how they adapt their small-scale agriculture and wild food foraging practices to the local socio-ecological conditions of Wollongong, Australia. It seeks alternate ways of conceptualising ecological knowledge and place-based practices of ethnic minority migrants by combining two concepts: ecological knowledge and translocality. The thesis therefore develops nuanced understandings of ecological knowledge that simultaneously account for movement and situatedness. It investigates how Portuguese and Karenni participants (n=35) grow and gather food across a variety of sites. The study used a mixed methods approach of semi-structured interviews, walking tours, participant observation and collaborating with community co-researchers to derive its findings.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.