Urban farming is getting big. Also in the Finnish capital Helsinki. In 2009 the Finnish environmental organisation Dodo started to grow vegetables on an abandoned strip of land in between railway tracks in the Helsinki Pasila district. And one successful urban farming project has lead to another up North.
Dodo’s Urban Farmers wanted to discover how food can be grown in cities. Very simply because farming makes cities better places to live in. They call themselves locavores, or as they say on their site: the most delicious food is locally grown and you know its story. Dodo’s initiatives are a way of reconnecting people with the meaning of real food and of reconnecting citizens with the city.
One year after they started the guerilla gardening project in Pasila, Dodo started a second project in the empty harbour of Kalasatama. This time, the gardening experiment was carried out in bags. Several empty bags were filled with soil and seeds and put along the quays. The Kalasatama bagfield experiment is part of a project of temporary uses and environmental art, organised in cooperation with design agency Part and the city of Helsinki.
But, there is more. Since 2010, Dodo’s Urban Farmers have several other types of farms: along with Pasila and Kalasatama, they have also marketed courtyard farming solutions for urban housing blocks and started a project for urban beekeeping. As a difference to the Pasila project of collective farming, the Kalasatama farm is based on individual groups’ own units, of which they are responsible.
Although the urban farming projects are successful in Helsinki, this is no future guarantee however. As Outi Kuittinen, who is involved with the Pasila project says: ‘The Pasila railway is up for redevelopment. When this will happen, we don’t know if we can stay.’ But, never doubt Finnish resillience. Dodo keeps going. The next stage in the urban farming future of Pasila is the construction of an Urban Gardening Centre (http://kaantopoyta.fi/kuvia/). ‘This is the development of unused space into an urban paradise, we hope,” Outi concludes.
Read all about Kalasatama here: http://www.urbandreammanagement.com/2010/05/bagfield-in-kalasatama/. Enjoy the photogallery of Pasila here http://kaupunkiviljely.fi/kuvagalleria/?album=all&gallery=1