The colourful wall painting is one of the first things that grabs your intention. Then you discover the trays with tomato plants, Chinese cabbage and chard through a gate from the street. At last you arrive at the lower courtyard, filled with vegetables, baskets of flowers, all kinds of herbs, cuttings and even a real greenhouse.
It is the community garden behind a new social apartment building. The building is located on the rue Polonceau in the heart of Goutte d’Or, a multicultural area in the 18th arrondissement.
The garden is one of the many green initiatives of which the City of Paris is a firm supporter. Residents can visit it regardless of background or age, which means that they come into contact with each other in a simple way. Parisians come to understand healthy and sustainable food. Children learn to sow, weed and harvest in a playful way and it makes the city greener.
A group of friends or schools, for example, can also develop their own piece of land or roof terrace. Nevertheless, most community gardens are located on plots of land that the city has made available. It usually involves public parks or (temporarily) fallow pieces of municipal land.
The gardeners on municipal land do commit to the rules of the Charter ‘Main Verte’ (green fingers), which are based on ecological gardening. It is also important that the gardens are open regularly and that at least one garden event is held annually. It is therefore not surprising that a public picnic scores high in Paris too.
Anno 2014, the city has nearly a 100 urban gardens. In addition, many Parisian children have now experienced that zucchinis grow on a plant.