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Zinnias and other colorful yellow, purple, and orange flowers.
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A sign in German at the gate to a garden; a white sheet of paper stating times and details of the garden's opening hours.
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Three raised garden beds overflowing with leafy greens and other plants.
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A hand-painted sign in German detailing rules for visiting the garden.
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Class of 2023
Major:
Environmental Studies
Global Studies

Support

Sponsoring Department:
Semester:
Summer 2022
Description

My project entailed traveling to the capital of Germany, Berlin, to visit urban agriculture and
urban farming sites. Over the past decade, gardening and agriculture projects have flourished
in the city, coupled with restaurants, universities, social centers and other spaces. I spent a
weekend in Berlin (Friday-Sunday) to visit their installations, get to know more about the
type of vegetables, fruits and herbs they grow, any agricultural principles they follow
(seasonal agriculture, permaculture, agroecology), the purpose of their garden (feeding
visitors, for a restaurant, for a social cause) and their history. I had the opportunity to chat
with people that work and volunteer in the urban gardens and understand the significance of
the place to the community.


Several of the community gardens featured art and handmade materials made by the
community, highlighting the collaborative, hands-on and creative venue that urban gardens
can be to the surrounding population. There were spaces for sharing knowledge, stories and
spending time together, such as benches, tables and small cabins. Several gardens had event
flyers that advertised different activities and get-togethers for the volunteers and visitors,
highlighting urban gardens as a space of connection and dialogue in the city.


Further, the garden had a diversity of crops and flowers that were abundant even during the
late Fall season, when I visited. Different vegetables were grown next to each other and
participants were often responsible for a portion of the land being cultivated. Some
coordinators shared that sometimes it takes a lot of communication and planning to make sure
the garden is being taken care of amidst the busy lives of the participants and volunteers. All
the gardens I visited were completely open to the public at all times. This accessibility helps
several people to get in touch with the project or simply enjoy the environment. Some
gardens were located in a portion of a municipal park, others in small plots of land amidst
residential areas, and one in a cemetery. This illustrates the multitude of spaces that can be
used for urban gardens to generate community, sustainability and awareness in the city
landscape.


This grant supported experiential learning building on my coursework at St. Lawrence,
particularly Ecology of Agroecosystems and Urban Green, both ENVS classes as well as my
Study abroad coursework in Sustainable Food Production and Consumption Core Course at
DIS Copenhagen. Overall, it enhanced my knowledge about urban farms,iIn the social realm,
I understood their value as a socio-political site and communal space. In the environmental
aspect, I noted their use or awareness of agroecological practices. Urban agriculture can
unveil the city as a space of multiple social demands and realities, as well as provide a space
to promote quality of life, dialogue, awareness of environmental issues and educational
opportunities.

Germany

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