Community gardens have always played an important role for the social cohesion of a neighborhood or city, and have many other benefits for individuals and groups alike. The city of Utrecht has many of these gardens, where people come together to learn about sustainability and food production.
One of these places in Utrecht is Stadstuin Kanaalweg, part of a larger network of community gardens and city farms called Utrecht Natuurlijk. Located in Utrecht West, the garden is surrounded by houses and sports fields. The team that tends to the garden and organizes activities consists of 25 volunteers. Alex is one of them and coordinates the food forest in the garden.
“The community garden is built up of different sections. There are patches for vegetables and there is also an herb garden, where we have medicinal herbs and kitchen herbs,” says Alex. Depending on the products that are in season, they are sold to restaurants and from the small stall at the entrance of the garden.
Besides the volunteers there are also other groups tending to designated parts of the garden. “During the covid-19 pandemic, no school classes could visit, but the school garden is opening up again.” Kids can tend their own produce, while learning about nature and sustainability. Another part of the garden is rented out to Common Ground Two, an organization that works together with refugees on gardening projects.
With plans for an outdoor kitchen, the school classes and other groups can use the produce of the garden to learn or better another skill: cooking. “But these plans are still in the making,” according to Alex.
All these aspects make community gardens a wonderful place to escape the busy city life, without going too far away. Everyone is welcome to take a look, relax, buy or grow fresh produce. And all of that in the middle of the city.