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Forget the pub, go gardening in your lunch hour
We've got used to pop up shops, restaurants, food vans, nail artists and playgrounds, so now it's time for something completely different: a pop up community garden. Known as the "Pop Up Patch", this "subscriber based edible garden club" is a joint initiative by The Little Veggie Patch Co. and Federation Square. Situated on the rooftop car park at the back of Federation Square in the city, there are around 140 do-it-yourself veggie plots in the garden housed in individual recycled apple crates. Most of them are leased to the public and many of Federation Square's cafes and restaurants are subscribers. Having popped up last October, the garden has blossomed from its initial stages and is now in full swing with an array of patches sporting veggies, fruit and flowers
So why should you go there? Well it's free to wander and admire during business hours and the contrast between the city buildings and train lines and the thriving multi-faceted garden are quite amazing. There is a shop and Little Veggie Patch Co. staff members on site to answer your questions and share their knowledge and enthusiasm for organic gardening.
As part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival in March there are "Patch to Plate" events. These involve the team from the Little Veggie Patch Co taking you on a guided tour through the Fed Square Pop Up Patch garden followed by a 3-course progressive dinner through the Square at selected restaurants where your meals include produce grown from the restaurants' own Patches. Not a lot of food miles are involved in those dinners. Details and bookings here.
If you live or work in the city you might like to get together with friends or colleagues and rent your own garden bed. Having your own organic garden plot in a recycled apple crate in the city, well, you've got to say it's gardening with a difference. Plus you get onsite help and advice. Where else could you go to join a gardening community in the city?
If you'd like a veggie patch at home, The Little Veggie Patch Co. specialises in the design, installation and maintenance of chemical-free vegetable gardens. As they comment on their website: "it is our passion to see more people living a greener lifestyle - growing their own vegetables". The Pop Up Patch is expected to remain at Fed Square until at least October at this stage. It is certainly a great initiative in showcasing the fact that, given a little help and advice, you can grow your own food, even in the middle of the city in a car park.