Experts and students designed Do-it-yourself (DIY) vertical garden kits under the CityZen pilot action carried out by Applied Research and Communications Fund (ARC Fund) and Sofia Development Association (SDA).
The very first users of the city gardens will grow herbs, fruits and vegetables located at 6 demo sites: the SOfia Green office of Sofia Municipality, Sofia Lab at SDA, Sofia Library – branch „Serdika”, Sofia Tech Park – the “Incubator” building, the COOP Supermarket of the Central Cooperative Union, and a residential building in Sofia.
The set of initial designs for urban mini gardens was made in October during two design thinking workshops. The events took place in Sofia Lab of SDA with the participation of students, experts and volunteers, in partnership with the SOfia Green programme. Four vertical garden models were made and their actual size prototypes were further built on by students and teachers from the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy at the local Makerspace. The main requirement for the students was to use affordable and eco-friendly materials offered by construction and home stores.
In early November, all mini vertical urban gardens were installed in 6 demo sites and planted with herbs, spices, seeds and seedlings of vegetables and fruits – radishes, arugula, spinach, chives, wild strawberries, chokeberries. In the coming months people at each location will take care of the mini gardens and will provide feedback on their user experiences, functionalities and overall impact of the garden on the working environment and quality of life.
The pilot action on DIY vertical mini urban garden aims to promote urban agriculture among citizens and employees of business organizations, public institutions and living spaces – for a closer link with nature, anti-stress culture at the workplace, having fresh produce at your fingertips and more efficient use of resources in urban environment. The design plans and manuals for assembling the DIY kits will be available online and made open source for all citizens willing to engage in urban agriculture. The results of the pilot action will also highlight the potential to make innovations in urban agriculture.