Harvesting fruits of sustainable urban farming project

It isn’t difficult, takes up very little space, and is healthy, fun, tasty and social!
Sustainable urban farming is a project involving some 20 doctoral students on the area of grass between Gerdahallen and Sölvegatan. From ten raised beds, they have harvested lettuce, carrots, chard, spinach, pumpkins, peas, rhubarb and much more.

Molly McGregor

Molly McGregor from the US pulls up one of the last carrots of the season. Photo: Gunnar Menander

To be honest, the beds don’t look very impressive at the moment. There are bare spaces in several beds and the weeds are taking over. Yet not everything that looks like a weed is a weed…

“We’re leaving quite a lot of plants in so we can collect the seed and reuse it”, explains Chad Boda from the US. He has taken on the task of creating a seed bank.

The doctoral students are all connected to the graduate school in the Linnaeus programme LUCID. The project is called LUCID Garden and is not actually part of the student’s studies.

“However, it’s a good topic to gather around and it fits in with many people’s specialisations”, says Elina Andersson, who has utilised some of the farming knowledge she gathered in Uganda, where she did part of her research studies.

LUCID-odling

The idea to do sustainable urban farming came up early in the spring, and after some negotiations with Akademiska hus, the doctoral students got to install their beds on the grass.

“So many people pass by here, and we want to show how much you can produce in a small space and how easy and pleasant it is to grow your own produce”, says Elina Andersson, explaining that many lecturers, doctoral students and students have eaten their lunch among the beds.

The doctoral students chose crops that could be harvested at roughly the same time and are pleased with the result. However, the hot summer meant a lot of watering.

“We have had a special watering rota, and we did get rather a lot of lettuce”, says Wim Carton from Belgium with a sigh.

Anna Kaiiser is wondering what they should grow next year and thinks more root vegetables would be a good idea. Chad Boda suggests more potatoes.

“They were really nice and we ran out so quickly”, he says.

Molly McGregor from the US pulls up one of the last carrots of the season, wipes off the dirt and tries it. She looks pleased. Behind the cress, which is still in flower, Elina Andersson, Anna Kaiiser and Wim Carton are crouched, while Chad Boda starts doing some weeding.

“We could set some onions now so that it looks nice in the spring”, says Anna Kaiiser.

Text: Maria Lindh

Photo: Gunnar Menander

ABOUT: LUCID stands for Lund University Centre of Excellence for Integration of Social and Natural Dimensions of Sustainability. The centre conducts research on sustainable development from critical and problem-solving perspectives that aim to understand, address and mitigate global threats in the form of climate change, water shortages, changes to land use and loss of biodiversity. The LUCID graduate school was started in 2009 and is coordinated by LUCSUS, Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies.