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Manufacturing Indaba 2018

Launch of City of Eden's Public Food Wall as part of World Design Capital 2014

As part of World Design Capital 2014, #WDC601 City of Eden will launch its Public Food Wall as part of #WDC354 Cape Town Art Street in Roodehek Street, Gardens on Saturday 23 August 2014. An awareness-raising activation, it challenges preconceived notions of where food comes from, how it is made and how public spaces can be used more inclusively and productively.
It also introduces the novel concepts of free food available for all, without regulations or the restriction of ownership. Importantly the wall is a physical expression of the organisation's aims and ideals that are to:
  • re-introduce the concept of Eden into our urban aesthetic and underutilised urban spaces
  • grow food that is freely available for passers-by, birds, bees, butterflies and all other beings
  • grow plants that are either organic, indigenous or heirloom species using natural chemical-free processes and no GMO
  • promote biodiversity and create micro-ecosystems within the city
  • reconnect city dwellers with how food is grown and the process and rhythms we rely on to grow food that we take for granted when we eat and shop
  • encourage community values and sharing by gifting indiscriminately and without expectations
  • reclaim public space by using it for public benefit, upliftment, and beautification
  • learn as much as possible from every experience and to share that knowledge to empower others

Story of installation

The story of installing the wall is very much the story of City of Eden - a story of community, sharing and collaboration.

City of Eden's founder, Anna Shevel saw an opportunity to collaborate with Cape Town Art Street as a perfect location for part of her 'Public Growing' campaign. Being unfunded and with no experience in wall gardening, she called on her online community to get involved. Volunteer Dimitri Selibas (volunteers are affectionately referred to as 'Eden-sprouts'), stepped up to the challenge and has seen the project through from start to finish.

Selibas sought the advice of Tarryn Rice, founder of Wall Gardens and devised a plan to use wooden shipping pallets as the structure because they are readily available and relatively cheap. The next step was (and still is) to raise cash not only for the growing wall but also for the in-progress artwork against which the garden is set.

With some funds raised and pallets in hand, Selibas and fellow 'Eden-sprout', Nicola Nan Rabkin, sowed 24 Weedguard bags for the four pallets, which were stapled to the pallets. The bags were then filled with a combination of lightweight coco-peat and compost.

As with all of City of Eden's growing projects, the plants chosen needed to fit the following criteria stipulated by Shevel to ensure that each garden is an inspirational vehicle for education and awareness, inline with the project's ethos:
  • Inspire and educate
  • Invoke the senses
  • Promote biodiversity
  • Attract other life forms,
  • Be edible
  • Include indigenous, organic and heirloom species
  • No chemicals and strictly non-GMO
Through the power of crowdsourcing on the project's Facebook page and social media, Cherene Barret from Cherene Organics and Bridget Albert from GROW Landscapers responded to requests for help and donated all the plants that were needed. Albert also shared some of her knowledge and experience about which plant species would flourish in the hostile environment of the low light, windy street-side.

Megan, Nigel and the Dog's Bollocks team supported the project every step of the way, donated a 'lunch for two' as part of the raffle prize and gave the team the much-needed workspace to construct the garden. Lastly, the guys from Jackhammer Hardware in Gardens helped to complete the job by attaching the pallet gardens to the wall.

On Saturday, between 11am and 2pm, bottles of organic bubbly will be popped and the Pallet Food Garden will be raffled as City of Eden, in collaboration with Cape Town Art Street and Dogs Bollocks.

City of Eden is an official WDC 2014 project with the aim of transforming Cape Town into an edible city. its other projects include The Forever Henry Young Memorial Food Garden at The Haven Night Shelter in District Six and a new company called The Food Route, which launched in July. It offers tour experiences such as visiting urban farms, eating locally grown natural and organic food, harvesting fresh fruit and veg, planting trees in community-gardens, browsing local markets and learning how to grow food at home.

For more, go to the City of Eden Facebook page.