How can we eat a park? – Urban farming in Kemi
The City of Kemi develops urban farming through a project funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
To answer our question in the heading, we do not know yet, either – but we are planning an edible park in Kemi and we aim to discover the possibilities the edible park could offer our townspeople. Our goal is to initiate communal garden activities in the heart of our city.
The idea of an edible park is that we grow plants such as vegetables, herbs, and berries in a setting that is open for everyone. We want to give all our townspeople the chance to participate in our activities through workshops and events. We intend to organize training sessions on small-scale farming and have harvest feasts toward the end of the growing season. During these sessions people can learn, get inspired and enjoy the atmosphere. We grow food together and savour the results together around one table.
We want to create a framework for urban farming and to inspire all our citizens to grow their own healthy, local food. By encouraging an active way of life, urban farming gives vitality to our city, increases self-sufficiency, and reduces the amount of food going to waste. An edible park is one of our various efforts to give rise to an environmentally friendly city culture.
Urban farming can be carried out in various ways, for example in garden allotments with small patches of land and even larger garden plots big enough for small cottages. But urban farming does not need to use a scale as large as allotments: you can grow food in your yard if you have one, but also use your balcony and even do it on your windowsill. We will investigate the most viable options we can use in our city. We also have to take into account our infrastructure and the growing conditions dictated by our geographical location. Through this we are creating a breeding ground for a tradition of food cultivation in our city.
Our wish to advance urban farming in the city of Kemi stems from the many advantages it offers. Urban farming advances the well-being of our people and the well-being of the environment. It strengthens our relationship with nature and at the same time increases our social relations. People get pleasure from gardening, get to know each other, and get fresh, healthy food on their plate. In practice, our work to achieve these goals is carried out through our project Year-round urban farming and local food production in Kemi.
Heidi Nikkilä, Project manager, City of Kemi