Notes about urban gardening

Krista Willman is the former president of the university’s association for organic food, called Tampiiri, she’s a teacher at TAU and she gave us a very interesting presentation about urban gardening with examples of Tampere, but also focusing on more general reflections and effects on urban gardening and community gardening.
Krista explained that urban gardening and new urban agriculture includes a political
statement, as they focus on 1.Food security (in low income countries, after economic crises: Detroit, Greece and NZ) and 2. Food safety: urban gardening and producing food as a hobby and participation.
In her presentations she used a lot of beautiful pictures and when presenting the variety of urban gardening projects around Tampere, I could feel the excitement in the audience to also get involved.

Krista presented the following urban gardens in place around Tampere:
- Hiendanranta floating garden
- Edible park and ARC greenhouses (for asylum seeker families)
- Hatanpää around plots for 50 families
- Kalevanharju- community garden of an informal group, with cooperation and nature
conservative association
Apparently, in many cases urban gardens are managed by associations (such as Dodo ry for instance) or just informal groups like in the case of Kalevanharju in Helsinki.

Krista also highlighted the diversity of benefits urban gardening brings to an individual but also to the community and the society. She explained that it is because of sustainability that cities are getting denser nowadays, with the trade-off of fewer green spaces within them.

Urban gardening (and as a side-note also guerrilla gardening) rises awareness about two political issues at the same time: food processes (on a global scale) and spatial processes (on a local scale). Below are some of the key aspects of her presentation that urban gardening brings forward:

Processes of food in urban gardening
1. Awareness
2. DIY producing food
3. food becomes meaningful and personal
4. consuming food

Food related meaning of urban gardening
1. meaning of place
2. participation and community
3. learning and independence
4. counterbalance for office work and urbanity

Krista’s presentation had a contagious effect that made the people present at this guest lecture feel like going out and do gardening. Spring is on its way!

Mirjam Schwitter (Feb. 2020)