Small spaces, city life and the joy of growing is something we talk a lot about here at IKEA. Which has meant that the growing popularity of urban gardens has had us pretty excited to learn more how people are making the most of their busy, city environments.
Plantparken is one such urban gardening collective that’s situated in the Swedish city of Malmö. Located in a fast developing part of town, the garden is surrounded by a building site, apartments and the city’s biggest skyscraper. We sat down with one of the collective’s members Tamara, to learn more about the urban garden.
“Well it started as a teaching project from Malmö College.” Tamara says. “At the time there really was nothing much here. This part of Malmö used to be very industrial, with steel factories and places like that, and more recently it’s been repurposed into apartments. Not what you could call a very green environment.”
Despite its surroundings the project got people interested.
“The college was the first to use this space and pretty soon some of the local residents became curious and asked whether they could use part of it too. Since the college project ended in 2014, we’ve gotten permission from the city to continue running the space ourselves.”
Not that all people in the community were immediate fans.
“Everything looks so nice now, but when we were starting out, when everywhere was a bit rougher, people were complaining about the mess, now the same people are like ‘this beautiful, how nice and so great you are doing this’. We have dogwalkers who come over and ask how’s everything growing, it’s really become more of a community meeting point too.”
This community feeling has been a great way for Tamara to meet the neighbourhood through the shared love of growing.
“We’re a big, big mix. We have locals, students, retiree’s — my neighbour there is from Spain, I’m from Chile. We’re more or less a cross section of the city. For most of us it’s a hobby, we’re not professional gardeners, it’s more learning by doing. We often share tips and exchange plants, and really get ideas and inspiration from each other.
What everyone has agreed on though is that the citygrown produce brings a big bonus to the dining table.
“I think more and more people are caring about what they eat, both ‘is it organic?’ and how it tastes. Just to get it fresh to the table, after you’ve grown it yourself — you wouldn’t believe how much better it is.”
Well, we’re convinced Tamara. Join us for part two in the series to see some more of the practicalities of how to get set up your own urban garden space, good things to plant and the techniques to grow them.
“If you have a love of growing just go for it. You don’t need a backyard or a farm or an allotment. Here we’re in a building site and everyone gets so much enjoyment from it.“
Tamara, urban garden enthusiast
Interior designer: Emilia Ljungberg
Digital designer: Lasse Johansson
Copywriter: Jamie Rynd
Photographer: Andrea Papini
Editor: Linda Harkell