Walk Leaders: Darja Fišer & Maja Simoneti, iPoP
Text by: Maja Simoneti
Photographs by: Maja Simoneti
Our walk was an investigation into urban gardening in the centre of Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. We wanted to find out more about how two traditional, yet modern, aspects of urban living—plot gardening and walkability—are getting along. That Saturday morning, 15 people, escorted by two walk leaders and a TV crew from the national broadcasting company, walked down by the urban gardens.
At the first stop, a historical location in the city centre, the three ladies awaiting our group stressed how lucky they were to have an opportunity for gardening close to their homes. The young couple at the next stop, a sort of guerrilla gardening area which they were able to get to by bike, said the same thing. The proximity of the location was worth more to them than the reliability of a long-term gardening permit, which they might be able to get somewhere further from home. This idea was also expressed at another plot, where the landowners have been tacitly approving illegal gardening for years, while the city authority simply looks away instead of legalizing the gardening. Support from authorities was also discussed further on, when we passed the garden by the retirement home, and at the last stop by the block house where Darja, one of the walk leaders, has a window-balcony garden on the fourth floor.
While Darja is doing everything to maximize the production area in her flat, the administration at the retirement home has adopted her initiative for the organization of a raised-bed garden where the elderly will grow vegetables with the help of volunteers. The walk showed that urban gardening is one of the vital activities that citizens expect in a walkable city, not just on its outskirts. The message for city authorities was simple and clear: enable urban gardening close to homes, and support innovative gardening in the city.