Sunday, 20 January 2013
An Edible Town
There's a small town in Germany - Andernach, on the River Rhine - which is an "edible town". Doesn't mean you can eat the houses, though. But it is a revolutionary concept which could have a long-lasting influence on how we see a) towns )b) ownership c) pulic spaces
But first let me explain the idea:
In 2010 town planners and developers in Andernach decided that all their green spaces - parks, meadows by the river, and moats around the castle would be turned from boring and slighty dreary patches of grass and flowerbeds into something quite exciting: Vegetables and fruit, herbs and orchards would be the new order for those public spaces. So if you go to a park, you'll see beds of cucumbers, carrots, strawberries,and beans. Or apple trees.
And the real beauty of it all- it's there for everybody. You are positively encouraged to go and pick apples, dig up carrots, cut off a few lettuces - however much you want. Green spaces with edible produce for everybody - healthy, fresh and at no cost. So anybody in Andernach can go and get their lunch or supper ingredients -not fresh from the market - but fresh from the park.
Beats a hanging basket doesn't it?
In addition, they pay particular attention to almost extinct and vintage varieties, for example there are 300 different types of tomatoes, and 100 varieties of beans to be found there.
I think this is an EXCELLENT idea and should be a model for all towns! It could solve austerity issues, revive city centres, invigorate dowdy parks, inject community spirit, and of course feed poorer families with no-cotst healthy food.
There are quite a few Youtube videos (in German) but even though you may not understand what's being said you can see the images and hear the enthusiasm in people's voices!