Greening the cities…

Robert Shaw director

For half a century Moritzplatz hid in the shadows of the Berlin Wall. This almost forgotten corner is now experiencing a new lease of life. The non-profit company Nomadisch Grun has leased the site in Berlin to create a mobile urban farm. David Curtis drinks the beer and Alexander Carolus takes the pictures.

Imagine a future where every available space in big cities is used to let new green spaces bloom. Green spaces that local residents create themselves and use to produce fresh and healthy food. The result would be increased biological diversity, less CO2 and a better microclimate. The spaces would promote a sense of community and help people lead more sustainable lives.
Nomadisch Grün (Nomadic Green) launched Prinzessinnengärten (Princess gardens) as a pilot project in the summer of 2009 at Moritzplatz in Berlin Kreuzberg, a site which had been a wasteland for over half a century.
“ In future ever more people will be living in cities rather than in rural areas. The city will therefore become the decisive place for the development of more sustainable ways of eating, living and moving. The city of the future should be a climate-friendly, pleasant place to live, where every care is taken to conserve our natural resources,” says director Robert Shaw.
“Along with friends, fans, activists and neighbours, we cleared away rubbish, built transportable organic vegetable plots and we are now enjoying the fruits of our labour.
Robert brought home the idea to his native Germany after a trip to Cuba. “ In Havana and other cities, agricultura urbana is not just about producing one’s own vegetables but more about creating an urban living- working- and meeting place. This is where neighbours would gather and adults would pass on their knowledge to children as they relax over a cup of coffee.
“We produce organic herbs and vegetables which are grown in raised compost beds without using any pesticides or artificial fertilisers.
“Nomadisch Grun stands for mobile gardening. We transform other unused spaces such as building sites, car parks and roofs into urban farmland and green meeting places mostly on a temporary basis”
There is no doubt that the garden is a place of pleasure and rejuvenation, a virtual oasis in the middle of Germanys busy, bustling ever changing capital city.
As I spoke to Robert Shaw over a cool beer in the gardens café I concluded he is a sincere man with a driving social ambition to make a positive improvement to the lives of local people who are not fully equipped to reap the fruits of the continuing German economic miracle.

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