This year was the second time that I participated in the Gardening Project organized by StepEurope.
The idea was to gather a group of people interested in community gardening and provide them with a place and everything else needed for sustainable gardening in accordance with the principles of permaculture. We were allocated a plot in the lovely Elävän Kulttuurin Koroinen, provided with organic soil and seeds, and even gardening gloves with a first-aid kit always at hand, together with a unique opportunity to work together for a common goal: a plentiful harvest and an enriching learning experience.
Compared with the last year, this time we were more people participating in the project, which resulted in more workforce to actually do the hard labour, such as soil preparation, planting, weed maintenance, watering, and harvesting. This year we also had more beds and more plants to care for. We planted the following: carrots, potatoes, red onions, radish, beans, broad beans, coriander, parsley, pumpkin, zucchini, chard, and some flowers too.
My personal reasons for joining this project were quite simple: I wanted to learn more about sustainable gardening, permaculture and its principles, and of course connect with nature and like-minded people while learning new skills in general. I was very pleased to witness that our group was made of incredibly lovely people from all over the world. The team spirit flourished and we did a really good job in almost perfect co-operation (group members even traded kefir in the group, wow!) Everybody was flexible and understanding of other team members’ working schedules, personal responsibilities or holidays. I feel that everyone did their best. It surely was more than enough, and I hope that the following picture is a proof of that:
Our project culminated in the loveliest Harvest Party. That is when we got to enjoy the fruits of our hard labour. Our senses were pampered with delicious, healthy and colorful vegetarian dishes, which we cooked together in a relaxed and warm atmosphere. The menu consisted of a soup called minestrone, an Italian dish gnocchi, a fresh salad with feta, roasted vegetables, and a Portuguese dish called ervilhas com ovos escalfados (peas and eggs) with a pizza and some homemade bread. Yummy!
The project was completely successful, regardless of the fact that some of the produce was lost due to extreme heat waves during the summer.
I want to express my utmost gratitude to everyone who made our Gardening Project possible! I am eagerly looking forward to community gardening with old and new friends next year again!