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End of the season in the Edible Garden KOI

November is now over and the weather is truly fall-like. Outside, you can see the trees shedding their leaves while rain brings a somewhat melancholic atmosphere. We, in such an aura, visited the so-called “Moomins’ House”. It is a distinctive landmark located in the Copernican Integration Centre. We were hosted here by members of the Edible Garden KOI on the occasion of the conclusion of their first season of their activity. 

The foundation of the Copernicus Integration Centre, and consequently the Edible Garden located within it, was made possible thanks to the cooperation of Nicolaus Copernicus University, the Municipality of Toruń and the Kuyavian-Pomeranian local government. Previously, the site was managed by Toruń Waterworks Company

In the centre there are three historic buildings, which, thanks to modernisation work, have been adapted to the new reality. Next to the remarkable “Moomins’ House”, we can find cultivation beds. It was exactly here that the first gardening work began with the start of spring. 

This is what the Edible Garden KOI looked like during summer.

The site was created as a community garden and a place of social integration for everyone. Paulina Jeziorek is the coordinator of the work in the garden. 

“The garden is a social space to… to meet, to come here twice a week, because that’s how often we meet, and to hang out in nature, among quite lush vegetation and a rich ecosystem.” Says Paulina. “The garden brought together between 20 and 30 people who participated in the cultivation itself. It wasn’t that all the people came all the time for the whole season, just a small group of people that would come for the whole season actually, then there was a group that might come in the first part of the summer and then not in the second part of the summer and vice versa, so I would say that this community as a whole is kind of flickering, it’s never constant, but there surely exists some kind of core.

“There were local students coming in and also Erasmus students, that is, international exchange students. Senior citizens from the area and kids with seniors and also some activists who were into permaculture or who were curious about a phenomenon like the community garden, who wanted to see how it worked. It all varies and the garden is open to everyone. It’s fun to work in the garden and I think it’s a space where it’s fun to hang out and also nobody is forced to work” says Paulina about diversity of garden regulars.

Even though it was only the first season, the organisers state that it was a great success. In addition to growing traditional crops like carrots and tomatoes, there were also some slightly less obvious choices. The seedling swap yielded, among other things, chickpea, which was planted with some scepticism. Contrary to concerns, it did well and greatly enhanced the biodiversity of the garden.

Chickpeas grown in Edible Garden KOI 

The permaculture mentioned in the interview consists of preventing extensive cultivation of the land by leaving space for natural processes. It keeps the soil in good condition as well as attracts various kinds of insects and other small living organisms. 

Participants of the Pumpkin competition 

Despite the garden’s main purpose of growing plants, there was no shortage of other cultural events. On the initiative of the people in charge of the garden, we were able to take part in, for example, a breathing workshop, hear a performance by the Toruń Improvised Orchestra, or test our culinary skills in the Pumpkin competition. 

“Apart from the fact that we grow plants, we also organise various educational events and other groups of people come to these events, for example to herb workshops. For instance, we held nettle bracelet weaving workshops, with fibres we pulled out of stinging nettles, or breathing workshops somewhere in the forest or on the lawn,” says Paulina Jeziorek regarding the variety of events.

This season was full of diverse events and was not without its surprises. In these times of omnipresent filling of public space with concrete, we often miss a moment to breathe among the natural environment. Fortunately, there are still places where we can experience peace and take a moment’s rest from our increasingly fast-paced urban life. 

[original article by Łukasz Ziobro and Herbert Ochimowski; photos from Edible Garden’s Instagram]