As aspects of our food system continue to be gobbled up (or forced on us) by corporate interests, having a garden has become a revolutionary act.
Regaining control of your seeds, soil, fertilizer and pesticides is a powerful thing. Gardening affords us the right to eat foods grown with the least amount of human interference. Extra produce can be shared with those around you, strengthening community ties. Garden plants also provide a place for important species–like bees and butterflies–to thrive.
But I’m sure you already knew that gardens are pretty awesome. What you might not have realized is that in an attempt to enjoy all the wonderful benefits of gardening, people have become pretty creative about where they’re planted. If you thought gardens only existed in backyards and wide open fields, get ready to think again.
7 Places You‘d Never Expect to See a Garden
1 . The International Space Station
The International Space Station will get a fresh upgrade when the Vegetable Production System (Veggie) arrives via the SpaceX Dragon CRS-3 mission. Veggie is a deployable plant growth unit capable of producing salad-type crops to provide the crew with appetizing, nutritious, safe and fresh food and to support crew relaxation and recreation. It will serve as a new space station facility as well and will provide a venue for future plant growth research.”Based upon anecdotal evidence, crews report that having plants around [from previous space studies] was very comforting and helped them feel less out of touch with Earth,” said Gioia Massa, a project scientist at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. “You could also think of plants as pets. The crew just likes to nurture them.”
2. Train Stations
Like many metropolitan areas, open space is hard to come by in Japan. That’s why the East Japan Railway Company has begun converting its station roofs into community gardens, called Soradofarms. “Although it’s pricey to rent a plot, many families are taking advantage of the opportunity to grow their own produce and even use the community garden as a park for picnics and recreation,” writes Bridgette Meinhold for Inhabitat.
3. Meatpacking Factory
Once empty, many urban factory buildings are leveled to make way for new development. Well The Plant (a vertical farm in Chicago) certainly counts as new development, but it’s keeping the old facility intact. “We’re working to show what truly sustainable food production and economic development looks like by farming inside an old meatpacking facility, incubating small craft food businesses, brewing beer and kombucha, and doing it all using only renewable energy that we make onsite,” explains the website. “By connecting outputs of one business to the inputs of another, we are harnessing value from materials that most people would throw away.”
4. A Floating Barge
In 2012, Brazilian artist Maria Thereza Alves used 300-year-old seeds salvaged by the sunken hulls of trading ships to bring a piece of history back to life in the form of a floating ‘world garden,’ reported the Daily Mail. The seeds, typically native to the ship’s port of origin, were ‘incidental cargo’ used to provide stabilizing weight. Various plants are now being grown on the converted grain barge including Rocket, Squirting cucumber, Marigolds and flax grass.
5. A Bus Stop
Originating as a guerilla garden project adjacent to a bus stop in South London, The Edible Bus Stop has now grown into a larger project that hopes to transform neglected sites across London’s transport network into valuable community growing spaces. The gardens grow a combination of edible and ornamental plants, and are maintained by community volunteers.
6. Chicago‘s O‘Hare Airport
Last year officials from Illinois’ most popular airport announced the official opening of the O’Hare Urban Garden, the first-ever vertical aeroponic garden inside an airport terminal. “The 928-square-foot, soil-less venture will help supply fresh produce and herbs to the airports restaurants, which will participate in a unique type of indoor CSA,” reports EarthTechling.
7. A Truck Bed
Desperate for a way to garden in New York City, filmmaker Ian Cheney took a good long look at the 1986 Dodge his grandfather had given him upon college graduation, and decided to give truck farming a whirl. The design and installation of the Truck Farm was simple, and took less than a day once materials had been collected, all for less than $200. Of course, Cheney made a movie about the process, which has since inspired a national fleet of truck farms.
What‘s the strangest or most unique garden you‘ve ever seen? Tell us about it in a comment!