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Urban Gardening: the grey city turning green

By Maria Lazar

What’s the first image that pops up in your mind when hearing the word ‘city’? Most likely a collage of tall buildings, concrete sidewalks and hurried people enveloped in polluted air from cars forever stuck in a traffic jam. But it doesn’t have to be this way. As times change, more and more people advocate for clean air laws, a decrease of cars on the road, and an increase in parks, gardens and trees inside cities. Nowadays, people insist that living in an urban setting should not mean having to

spend less time in nature. The desire to spend time in nature and engage with the local community has led to the creation of urban gardening.

Urban gardening in the UK has become increasingly popular in recent years. Not only is it beneficial for the mental health of people seeking to spend more time in nature and add value to their area of residence; urban gardening also helps beautify urban spaces and promote sustainable living through providing an alternative source of fresh produce.

Many corporations have taken initiative towards turning their grey city green. The London-based company Urban Growth has vowed to

transform the capital into ¨a greener,

healthier, and more sustainable city

for all its residents¨.

The main objective of Urban Growth is to create and maintain indoor and outdoor green spaces within the city of London. Among their many successful projects, Urban Growth designed and completed the green communal space in Grenfell tower. This project saw the transformation of a disused urban area into a community Source:

garden where local residents can grow

their own food and share it amongst


On an individual level, residents from Brighton and Hove have taken matters into their own hands by setting up the Brighton and Hove Organic Gardening Group.

While the initiative was set up in 2001 by a group of friends with a passion for gardening, it has now grown

into a not-for-profit organization entirely run by volunteers. This gardening group helps the local community interact while learning helpful gardening tips and tricks,

and be rewarded with whatever produce results from the hard labour

of their hands. Everyone is welcome to Source: join, as long as they have two hours

spare on Sunday morning.

But what about people who do not have access to an outdoor area? Turns out, a variety of plants and vegetables can be easily grown from the comfort of your flat, starting with leafy greens such as basil, thyme and parsley, all the way to tomatoes and peppers. As long as you have a windowsill, a pot and a few spare minutes every day, you could have your own garden inside your bedroom.

In conclusion, the traditional image of cities as concrete jungles is being challenged by an increased movement to incorporate nature into urban settings. Integrating green areas into our urban landscapes enhances air quality, community well being and transforms cities into more vibrant spaces. As more and more residents from metropoles wish to reconnect with nature, urban gardening has emerged as a popular and impactful solution. Urban gardening is contributing to the beautification of urban spaces, helps people spend time in nature and promotes sustainable living by helping local communities grown their own organic food. If adopted on a more widespread scale, this initiative could provide an option for individuals confronted with supermarket shortages in the vegetable aisle.

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