The City encourages the development of urban kitchen gardens in Geneva. What do you need to do if you want to grow vegetables just outside your residence?
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Urban kitchen gardens, or communal gardens, are generally developed on unused plots of land ranging in size from 5 sq. m to hundreds of square metres. Lawns and wastelands at the heart of residential areas are thus transformed into shared meeting places. Having a plot of land, sharing your horticultural knowledge with your neighbours, cooking freshly picked vegetables with the family and discovering long-forgotten varieties are just some of the joys of urban gardening.
In recent years, some forty collective projects have been created in the City of Geneva, and urban agriculture is booming. Whether in open ground (for example in Beaulieu, André Chavanne, Geisendorf or les Franchises parks), in tubs (in particular in le Seujet, at the Velodrome or on the Square Monthoux), or in schoolyards, the projects attract a wide range of people and take a number of different forms. You can find the map of all these projects on the Genève Cultive website.
So you want to be an urban gardener - what do you have to do?
Here are some questions to consider when launching a project
Do you want to join an existing initiative in your district?
Obtain information from the institutions in your district such as the local social centres or your community centre;
- Contact the Genève Cultive network which lists the different initiatives.
Have you identified a potential plot of land and/or do you want to set up a project with other inhabitants?
1. Create a collective or an association: this will facilitate your administrative procedures (including requests for authorisation) while enabling you to join forces and share competences.
2. Find out if it is private land (owner, management, company) or public land (state or city), in particular by consulting the information relating to the plot concerned on the SITG website :
If the land is private, you need to submit a request to the owner, ideally on behalf of a collective or an association. If necessary, the City can provide sample agreements.
In the case of public land, if it belongs to:
- the State of Geneva: contact the State of Geneva (Nature en Ville programme)
- The City of Geneva: contact the Agenda 21 – Sustainable city department, which will process your request or refer you to the relevant department.
Are you looking for assistance: funding, contacts or advice on setting up your project (operational arrangements, infrastructures, where to find local seedlings or seeds, how to garden ecologically, etc.)?
- Genève Cultive can provide you with basic advice and refer you to the appropriate associations, people or resources;
- If the project is collective, open to the public and promotes awareness of sustainable development, the Agenda 21 – Sustainable city department can grant small-scale occasional assistance, in particular to finance ecological gardening classes;
- The Nature en Ville programme run by the State of Geneva also grants occasional assistance for projects contributing to urban biodiversity.
- Several organisations can provide technical advice when planning what to grow or organise ecological or permaculture gardening classes, for example:
www.permabondance.ch (Daphnée Lachavanne or Jennifer Webster)
www.les-semeurs-de-jardins.ch (Christian Bavarel)
www.racineurbaine.blogspot.com (Muriel Passerat)
Is the land suitable and what farming method should you adopt?
1. Prioritise land which already has a plot of cultivable soil, or think about a system of tubs.
2. If there is insufficient or no cultivable soil, or if the soil is low quality, you should be aware that importing soil is relatively expensive. The City of Geneva does not provide soil!
Having soil analysed is relatively simple, quick and inexpensive. We recommend the HEPIA soil laboratory.
Several companies will be happy to provide soil and organise the land or tubs. The City can recommend certain companies.
Other resources and associations active in the field of urban agriculture.
- For local seeds, organic seedlings and old varieties: Les Artichauts, Semences de Pays, Pro Specie Rara
- For local seeds and to exchange seeds and seedlings: “Grainothèque” at the Jardin des Délices.
Article modifié le 02.03.2020 à 10:16