More and more people here are becoming aware of the benefits of growing their own food and since 2010 the demand for allotments in the city has tripled. But generally speaking, private gardens are not places where there is much evidence of food growing, except perhaps fruit trees (mostly apple) and the ocassional fruit bush. Typically, lawns tend to dominate.
So it’s always a particular thrill for me to come across community gardening initiatives in and around the city. While out walking recently, I found two such lovely examples. The first was located on land allocated to a block of flats. Residents there had got together and converted part of the communal grassy space into a small growing area with a range of fruit, vegetables and flowers.
The area was divided by beds, some raised beds, each plot being a modest size of roughly 70 x 90cm. Each one was unique. Among them there was one jam-packed (sorry) full of strawberries, one growing potatoes, one with beans and chard and a few just with a mix of beautiful flowers.
The second example was found near Tråkka barnehage (nursery). Alongside the path running to the nursery, two long beds had been created. They were stuffed full of vegetables from Brussel sprouts and artichokes to tomatoes, corn and chard planted alongside flowers such as sunflowers and Echinacea.
I’m not sure whose initiative this is but it is a lovely addition to the area, injecting lots of colour and texture in an otherwise non descript piece of grass near a big junction.
While taking photos a local resident stopped for a chat. Originally from Cuba, he told me how he recognised some of the same vegetables he remembered being grown over there. We shared our impressions and we talked for a while about how incredible it all was.
I couldn’t help think how wonderful it was that this project was clearly not just a benefit to those who had created it but also to local people and passersby. Gardens like these of any size can show what is possible, can encourage thought (and sometimes debate), can connect people and can inspire action.
Pretty amazing for a few plants, eh?