Short introduction to urban gardening projects by the environmental organisation Dodo
Pasila Railway Garden
This is how we started in 2009! First guerrilla garden in Helsinki! The garden is located on a wasteland by the main railroad tracks in Helsinki. The raised beds were constructed out of wooden shop pallets and the donated soil originating from sewage waters of Helsinki. Lots of chard, carrots, dill, mint, and other delicious food were grown in the garden, which were tested for pollutants: none found. Currently there are new interesting plans for this area, in connection with Helsinki Design Capital 2012, stay tuned to Kääntöpöytä, The Turntable!
Kalasatama Bag Garden
f a gardener is determined and creative enough, it is possible to start a garden even on a tarmac-desert! The gardening in this project happens in giant construction bags that are filled with soil. The garden in Kalasatama is a collaboration with the city of Helsinki, part of the temporary uses of the area, which in the next 20 years will be built into a new urban district of Helsinki. There is a constant lack of allotment gardens in Helsinki, so the Bag Garden functions as one: the gardeners rent the bags from Dodo.
Laaritalkoot – a Growing Box Campaign
In the spring 2010, Dodo urban gardening activists decided to make gardening for city dwellers as easy as possible: you could order a wooden growing box, seeds and a Garden Guide who told you how to grow your own food! Seven apartment buildings and day-care centres got the Dodo growing boxes in Helsinki.
Vallila Neigbourhood Garden
In Vallila, Helsinki, the local neighbourhood wanted to find a meaningful use for an empty lot: it was happily taken over by enthusiastic gardeners. Some raised beds were built with old roof tiles and fruit tree saplings were planted. The locals use their garden, besides actual gardening, for cups of herbal tea and some soccer in the evenings.
The garden was started behind some student housing in Viikki, Helsinki. The beds were constructed out of salvaged materials. By the summer’s end one of the pumpkins had almost taken over a whole birch tree that happened to grow nearby!
Urban Foraging Bike Ride
The city is edible without gardeners too. Loads of berries, nuts, and fruit grow in the public space of Helsinki. Since fall 2009, we have arranged bicycle rides to our parks, forests and wastelands. On the Urban Foraging Ride the public produce are recognised and collected. The harvest: Plums, apples, currants, chokeberries, pears, sea buckthorn etc. The best foraging spots of Helsinki can be found on this map: satokartta.net
Tree Guardians (Puukummit) is a campaign of planting fruit trees to the parks of Helsinki. The idea is that local residents and organisations commit to taking care of the trees they plant. The first Tree Guardians started in summer of 2011, in collaboration with the municipality of Helsinki. In the first planting session 6 apple- and 4 plum trees were planted. The Tree Guardians have watered the trees during the summer and prepared them to survive the winter. They also promise to pick the harvest when the time comes.
Urban beekeeping is also one of the activities of Dodo. Dodo’s urban beehives are located in Lapinlahti, close to Central Helsinki, and in the summer of 2011 they produced approximately 30 kg of honey.
Turku and Tampere
There are also urban gardening initiatives in Turku and Tampere. The Tampere garden is located in the university-area, and is built out of recycled pallets. There is also a similar garden in Turku, also run by several university students. Both gardens were started in 2010.