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Editions
August 09 Edition Cover

Greening our concrete jungle

31 Jul 2009

Greening our concrete jungle Image

Docklanders could become self-sufficient in vegetables, according to award-winning designer Jo Szczepanska.

Ms Szczepanska is this month off to the United Nations’ climate change conference in Copenhagen to showcase her “VeggiePatch” product which she has developed for small urban spaces, such as the verandahs of Docklands.

She said one of her small 45cm wide by 90cm tall units could provide up to 50 kg of vegetables in a season.

“You could easily feed yourself from what you grow on your verandah here in Docklands,” she said.

And if everyone did this, she believes the wider benefits to Docklands would include:

  • Alleviation of our intense winds;
  • Lower summer temperatures;
  • Greater insulation in winter;
  • Increased biodiversity;
  • Attraction of wildlife; and importantly
  • More social interaction.

“Having a garden space is a great leveller of social standings and cultural barriers,” she said.  “You don’t particularly need to know a language to grow things and you don’t need a lot of tools or resources to participate.”

“Food and growing things are one of those fundamental things that bring people together,” Ms Szczepanska said.

She said Docklands’ rooftops could also be used which would result in insulation and water conservation benefits.

The 24-year-old designer last year won the Premier’s Design Award for self-initiated industrial/product design and was one of seven finalists in the international Aspen Design Challenge.

VeggiePatch is essentially a stand with suspended rubber sheets with pockets to hold soil.

“My project makes it so easy that you can’t really muck it up.  All you need to do is plug into a hose, with a timer.  You just have to put the seeds in, turn on the hose and enjoy your meal after that,” Ms Szczepanska said.

“It has the benefit of having worm composting as well.  Without a garden you have nowhere to put your food scraps.”

While in Copenhagen she hopes to attract investment which will allow her to commercialise her VeggiePatch product.

For more information on VeggiePatch and on DIY gardening, see http://www.veggiepatch.weebly.com.

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Comments

  • Vaia Goodwin at 3:07pm on 31/07/09

    Absolutely brilliant idea - I think we should encourage our community to get on board with this!
  • Ron Clarke at 1:07pm on 20/08/09

    Am interested in getting more information on the Veggie Patch but have found that the site quoted in the article for reference isn't available.
    Can you provide info on the technical aspects of the veggiepatch , its cost and availability please.
    Ron Clarke
  • Shane Scanlan at 8:02pm on 21/08/09

    Hi Ron
    Link seems OK. Try again now - http://veggiepatch.weebly.com/
    As a Dock 5 resident, you'll be interested in a story coming up in the September edition about a demonstration urban agriculture project at the base of your building.
    Shane Scanlan

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