Wednesday, March 24, 2010


This Saturday is the Canberra Harvest Festival and it got me thinking about how much I miss my garden now we have moved into a flat.

No space for a productive veggie garden is one problem for people in high-density residential spaces. Lynds talked about the problem with having compost in an apartment. Unless you have room for a small compost bin, can afford a small tumbler for the composting part of the process and have a few plants, you may still have to throw it out into the garbage. I am fortunate that we are on the ground floor and have a small bit of courtyard out the back. Just enough for a chilli plant, herbs, a couple of tomatoes, an eggplant and two capsicums. What about those without the space?

Community gardens are one option. In Canberra, COGS run community gardens all around town. They aim at providing space for people interested in growing their own organic food, but don't have space in their own backyard! This is perfect for the flat-living organic-veggie muncher, such as myself! Plus it is a great way to meet new people. COGS is continuing to grow, as organic fresh foods are becoming a more popular choice with increased awareness and environmental education. Montreal also has a spectacular community garden and composting facility right in the heart of the city.

 Montreal Community Compost (J. Drake)

Rooftop gardens have also 'sprung-up' in many cities. With dense populations, and little green space, community rooftop gardens are a way of finding space for food and environment within the city. Rooftops are transformed into vibrant, sunny gardens. Food produced on the rooftops reduces the amount required to be transported into the city, and make people more self-sufficient. The Rooftop Gardens Project looks at projects all around the world! They have partners in Senegal, Cuba, Mexico and Morocco. There are even a few projects popping up in Australia, including some in Melbourne. Rooftop gardens aren't always about food. It is also about making space for people to get away from he concrete sprawl, and enjoy nature.

NY city has a huge amount of options for the keen city-bound veggie grower. New York has several community gardens, particularly in the outer boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn. NYC has also been considering building skyscrapers for food production to reduce the reliance on imports. Daniel Libeskind has designed one particular garden-scraper for the NY environment. On top of all of this, they even have rooftop gardens! However, what is so special about NYC is the High Line project. It uses an old elevated train line, a few meters above the city's roads, as a community garden. It is the only of its kind in the world and in the heart of Manhattan.

If you are a keen gardener, but live in a city or confined space, there are always options to grow your own food or prune some roses! Contact your local garden society or ask at your local nursery.

None of these are options for you? If you still want to have a go at growing your own food, you could try:
* Herb pots in your kitchen or bathroom
* Mushroom kits
* Pots of peas or beans hanging over your porch. They have great flowers and will use metal railings to climb!
* Decorative pots with veggies. Try smaller varieties of tomatoes, eggplant, brocolli, capsicum, chillies, spinach, rocket and lettuce. 
* Have a shower and an unused bath? Try a bathtub garden!
* Try some indoor plants to brighten your house!

The Canberra Harvest Festival celebrates organic food growing in the community. For details of the festival, see Ecoaction Canberra.

See you all there!

1 comment:

  1. " If you are a keen gardener, but live in a city or confined space, there are always options to grow your own food or prune some roses! Contact your local garden society or ask at your local nursery. " - This is a pretty good advice I know that a lot of people doesn't know about this information. Thanks for posting. Keep planting organic food.

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