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Fruit plants in public gardens, the project for a greener Copenaghen

Planting trees and fruit bushes in the city to reconnect people with nature, local vegetation and forgotten flavours to be reintroduced in the daily diet. 

This is the main purpose of the project adopted by City Council of Copenaghen, the municipality of Denmark’s capital, a few weeks ago. It’s an idea that combine food education, recovery of native food heritage, civic education and social- welfare.

It will start soon with the planting of trees, plants and bushes in the parks and public gardens of the city, fruits will be available to all and everyone can pick and eat them freely as healthy and fresh snacks. Local species, which already grow spontaneously in Denmark’s natural reserve, will be favoured: these native and stronger varieties don’t need particular gardening treatment, so that the operating cost will be moderate. Among these species there are elder, blackberry, juniper, rare and vanished apple’s variety, plums and other berries that can be found in the Danish countryside.

This is not an original idea but this is anyway the first time a big city’s administration acts with a program of public green rationalization, focusing on plant’s dissemination for food use. 

The city councilwoman Astrid Aller, one among the promoters of the event, explains clearly the reason: “We want the city to be a living place rather than a hostile space where just move around to find a parking space. There will be public spaces for feeling good, like at home, which will offer opportunities and advantages to all, giving meaning to the idea of collective benefit. Many citizens don’t have a private garden and they can hardly teach to their sons how to live together with nature, to take advantage of it and to improve their own diet”.

For the success of the project they obviously rely on the education citizenship of Danish people, almost certain that no one will take advantage of this opportunity for a private profit. In this way everybody can take advantages experiencing a natural gesture, long forgotten in the big cities, like picking a fruit and eat it while waiting for the bus or on the way to work or to school.

It should be said that in Denmark the practice of spontaneous herbs and fruits’ free picking is a centuries-old tradition: actually, since the Middle Ages people have always been authorized to pick food in public parks and also in private properties, as long as fruits are on crossing paths. This project will be surely a good way to deeper promote vegetal species also among those who don’t know them.

Since some years there’s also been in Denmark an app named “Vild Mad” (wild food), a guide that provides for detailed information about fruits, herbs and berries picking and recipes that can be realized with these products.

VEG-GAP Project - LIFE18 PRE IT 003
Duration: December 2018 - May 2022
Total Budget: 1,666,667 Euro
European Financial Contribution: 1,000,000 Euro
Coordinated by Mihaela Mircea, ENEA (IT)