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Ristinummi city garden celebrates first harvest

Published: 29.8.2022

The cultivation box garden created in Ristinummi with the help of the Vaasa with Energetic Citizens project has just celebrated its first harvest. The garden promotes a circular economy, and the pilot project supports the integration of immigrants and the sense of community in the area.

The cultivation box garden in the yard of the local community centre, Kyläkeskus Kultanummi, was able to celebrate its first harvest. The cultivation box garden in Ristinummi, that residents had wished for, was created as a joint venture by the City of Vaasa’s Integration Services, Ab Stormossen Oy, Vaasan Setlementti, Vaasan 4H-yhdistys, Etelä-Sudan ja SudanSawa yhdistys ry as well as Vaasan Somalinaisten kehitys ry.

–  The first summer of cultivation has gone well, and based on these experiences, the goal is to make gardening activities in Ristinummi a permanent feature, says project planner Anni Toivanen.

The municipal waste management company Stormossen sponsored the soil for the cultivation box garden, which is made from soil composted from biowaste from households and food stores in Vaasa. The garden was cultivated by the clients of integration services and the residents of the surrounding area, and all the boxes have been in use since the spring. Two cultivation trainings, with interpretations into other languages, were arranged to support the cultivation hobby. Stormossen’s environmental trainer also provided guidance on recycling biowaste.

–  The clients of integration services have been really enthusiastic and it has been wonderful to follow the project. Many have also told us about their farming background in their previous home countries, and it has been great for them to be able to grow things in their new home country as well, says Tiina Reini from integration services.

Garden increases sense of community

20 farmers began cultivating in Ristinummi’s cultivation box garden during the spring.

– The summer has gone really well. I have planted mint, courgettes, aubergines and parsley in my box. Taking care of the cultivation box takes surprisingly little time which is why this has been so nice. I would like to continue farming, says Roakamal Alim.

Other farmers have also been satisfied with the crops grown during the summer.

–  A lot of help and support has been given during the project, which we are especially grateful for. The garden has also increased our sense of community. If we were unable to water our own box, then we could ask for help from another farmer, for example. This has been so nice that in the future the cultivation boxes could be even bigger, say the farmers when talking about their summer experience.

Project implements the ideas of Vaasa residents

The Vaasa with Energetic Citizens project, partly funded by the Sustainable City Programme of the Ministry of the Environment, promotes the city’s resident orientation and participation in sustainability work by implementing the ideas of Vaasa residents for a more sustainable urban life. The project also strengthens cross-administrative cooperation between the city’s various branches and companies and associations. In the autumn, the project will run a pilot project focussing on children.

– The aim with the Vaasa with Energetic Citizens project is to increase the influence opportunities of groups that do not necessarily have their voices heard. We are developing opportunities for child empowerment, and the purpose is to bring more children’s voices into the city’s sustainable development decision-making, says Anni Toivanen.

Cities and municipalities have an important role to play in promoting the green transition process. Similarly, city residents have a key role to play in figuring out what a sustainable lifestyle can look like.

Lessons from the pilot projects of the Vaasa with Energetic Citizens project are being gathered as operating models for the City of Vaasa and for replication in other municipalities.