Imagine a modern city where natural resources are protected and conserved, food and inspiration are shared commodities, and every spare urban space is used to let biodiversity and fresh food thrive. This is the future that Marco Clausen and Robert Shaw have imagined for Berlin, Germany. They were so inspired by Cuba’s “agricultura urbana” that they broke ground at Moritzplatz in 2009, beginning an urban farming movement in the middle of Berlin - The Princess Garden.
The 20,000-square-foot empty space, which was once in the shadow of the Berlin wall and later a major traffic intersection, has now been transformed into a place of working, learning, and relaxing. The garden is open to all volunteers and welcomes the exchange of new farming techniques and know-how. An on-site garden cafe gives visitors the full plant cycle experience, eating seasonal fare grown on the property. There is also a pop-up library for sharing gardening information. By using plastic crates, milk containers, and rice bags to grow vegetables, they have created a flexible system in which the plants can be easily moved if a change of location is needed.
I spent two afternoons exploring this urban green island, finding inspiration from the farmers, the visitors, and of course, the beautiful plants of Prinzessinnengarten.