Gardens By The Railroads

So the other day I posted about a wonderful old Gare turned Cafe. Across the way from their own garden was what seemed like a set of community gardens but I couldn’t be sure because I didn’t know how to check. But I loved the idea of reusing the space along a railroad that was no longer in use as a community green space- especially since the railroad itself gets all green and beautiful. But the space is perfect for gardening! There’s a big long space of nothing, big enough for you to walk along as well as a very long set of beds for people to use. And, it’s such a wonderful representation of the urban gardening in Paris- a little garden along the physical representation of urbanism and industrialism- the train, and a closed one at that. #symbolicasfuck

So today, as I walked along the literal other end of Paris (to buy the best baguette in the city so clearly worth it) I noticed another set of these lovely gardens! I know I’ve posted about community gardens before but being in a space with no ability to have my own garden, I find these urban gardens so exciting! And this one was so nice because for a few minutes of my walk, rather than having to stop and try to peer into the little space, I got to look at bed after bed facing the sidewalk. Garden on my parisian friends. 

(There were more than just flowers in the beds- but how lovely is this to see along a sidewalk! Oct. 16, 2014)

(A view of the abandoned railroad, the gardens are between the fences on the right side- Oct 16, 2014)

In a fun addition, because we’re speaking about abandoned trains, as I was walking home I found the “Ceinture du 15e” which is when they take old elevated metro lines and turn them into parks, like the one in New York. There’s also one in the 12th I’ve been to. If you happen by one in Paris, I highly recommend the trip. 

La Recyclerie

My first glimpse of this amazing cafe was through an instagram post by my friend who is also in Paris but what caught me was the cute Mezzanine with a view. When I asked more, it turned out there was a lot more to like about this place than it’s cute chairs. 

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La Recyclerie is a cafe that can be found right at the edge of the 18th and the banlieus outside (actually right by a huge flea market I’ve been meaning to go to…). Built in what was once the Gare Ornano, the building itself is stunning. The back of the main room is a giant two story window facing and old now green railroad track. this is the first view you have of the outside space they own. You can follow it out to a side eating area outside. But if you continue on just a little further, the signs lead you somewhere that will someday be something amazing. 

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(“Future Urban Farm”- Oct. 13, 2014)

Here, along the tracks of an old railroad, is the future urban farm that will further localize the ingredients that go into their food. What could be cooler than an amazing looking cafe with its own farm! 

As you walk down stairs through a tunnel of tree branches, you see the first part of the farm. A small garden of herbs that has already been planted. An adorable aisle of plants ready to be used by the kitchen. 

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(“future aromatic garden- herbs”- Oct. 13, 2014)

As you get to the bottom of the stairs, there is another seating area with its own bar. Across the railroad is a very green space with its own chairs and tables though I am not sure if it is part of the cafe or its won thing. Either way, the feeling of being in a space that cares about sustainability and having a good time is more than present. 

As if that weren’t enough, as you walk back upstairs to order after having fallen in love with this restaurant, you notices something else. A small wooden structure that is immediately recognizable as a place for animals. Two signs are posted around the same structure: Chickens and Goats. Though, I saw neither of those… But the idea is there. Who would have even expected that you might be able to, in an extremely urban part of Paris (though were isn’t it urban in Paris) to find a restaurant that has both its own veggies but its own eggs and milk (but hopefully not meat). 

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(left: “Future Goat Home”, right: “Future Chicken Coup”- Oct. 13, 2014)

Entering back inside, you can order at the bar right in the middle of the room (you can’t miss it). Thank the coffee gods, you can buy filtered coffee here. What is filtered coffee? Its what we Americans just call coffee- you have to specify the filtered because otherwise they try to pass of “Americanos” as regular coffee. It’s not easy to find in Paris, they’re really only about espresso here. But the filtered coffee (though its not a lot of coffee) is only 1 euro!!!! That’s crazy. Find that somewhere else in europe. And its good. Don’t on the other hand, think the american-ness of their coffee means that chai latte will be good too. I’m currently sitting here with a cup of barely spiced warm milk and 4 euro poorer. 

But all I have to do is turn around, back at the mezzanine cuteness that originally brought me here (thanks Casey’s instagram), with its own cute garden space just behind me to thank the study abroad gods for brining me to a city where this is where I get to write my Art History paper. 

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(garden outside the mezzanine seating area- Oct. 13, 2014)

If you’re in Paris, or ever will be this is a great community space as well. Check out more events and things about it besides my brief farm overview at their website!

http://www.larecyclerie.com/

A Paris!

Hello everyone! 

It’s been a big week for me since I up and moved to Paris for the semester. As excited as I’ve been for this, there’s been a part of me that is a little worried I’ll lose the lovely gardening habit I’ve built during the summer for lack of practice. This blog was actually made so that I would force myself to go out into this big urban city and find it’s agricultural heart. 

Before I even began looking, the gardens were presented to me. As Casey, Leah and I walked through the 10th arrondissement, we passed a cute park by l’Eglise Saint Laurent that we quickly realized was a community garden!

(31 août, 2014- Leah in the garden)

For a big city, the spaces in which people were allowed to plant were quite big. I also did not see any specific rules or big signs (as I saw elsewhere) about it being part of the community. I think, this must be part of the church that belongs to the community as well but not to any few specific people by area. But the boxes were very well kept and creatively built!

(31 août, 2014- smaller beds with bright markers)

(31 août, 2014- Flourishing tomato garden)

(31 août, 2014- Long colorful spiral!)

But it wasn’t just the beds that were well decorated! The whole park was filled with wonderful art pieces, and even some bad ass feminist graffiti. From the steps around the garden, to the walls of the tool shed, the whole place felt like a wonderland rather than an inner city church garden.

(31 août, 2014 - “La conscience de homme est l’energie de l’amour qui sort de sa partie virtuelle qu’il ignore toujours. Quelquechose comme ça.”)

(31 août, 2014- “Leur realisme est un chaos, asons nos utopies, asons nos ‘Rêvolutions’” “On nous méprise tellement… et pourtant on est si precieux, si fragiles, si uniques”)

(31 août, 2014- awesome pyramid and the colorful stepping stone/wooden squares)

(31 août, 2014- Interesting tree statue made of the same wooden pieces as the steps)

(31 août, 2014- compost bins!)

The great part about this garden was how comprehensive it was. It was very clearly a learning space. The tool shed held so many different things, there were a ton of different areas, and there was a solid amount of space to walk and observe. There was a non-pictured sitting space by the shed that circled a tree where several adults were coming together. I didn’t want to bother what seemed like a meeting so I don’t know why they had gathered but it seemed like someone was teaching them. There was even a rather large compost bin (pictured above) that was split into two bins, which is a pretty large scale operation!

Later in the day, just before I was whisked away by a taxi to meet my lovely host family, the same friends and I spotted a green looking spot at the end of the block from the hotel in the south of the 11th. We decided it might be nice to sit in a park for a bit and walked over. As we got there we discovered yet another community garden. This one seemed a bit more traditional, though it was far smaller. 

I met a lovely woman there who was working on her own garden there and who turned out to be american and she explained to me the whole deal with this place. It was a jardin pour le quartier, so anyone from the neighborhood could sign up for a spot, get a rather small section of space, and a key. The garden was only open when a gardener was there, but they were required to keep the door open to the public while they were around. It was a lovely place, with a large amount of seating as well for my future days (since its a quick walk away from the center I’m taking classes at) of studying or bringing a lunch from home. 

Though far less colorful, it felt like a whole new type of paradise. One filled to the brim with fruits and flowers and veggies. They also had a compost bin, though it was much smaller. One of the cutest things I found was a few shoes used as pots (picture below). I’m putting money on my mom messaging me about how cute it is the second she sees it (especially after I write this)!

Well that’s about it on the gardening in Paris front. I’m going to look into whether or not theres one like the last one in my quartier!

(31 août- community garden in the 11th)

(31 août, no garden is complete without some tomatos!)

(31 août - Casey and Leah smell some lavender)

(31 août- shoe garden)

Camp Garden Wrap Up

So clearly I’ve been terrible at keeping up with this blog but I’m still going to keep trying for this whole post camp life. I ended up not keeping a computer with me during the summer but now I have one all the time? 

This summer was a wonderful time for gardening and the whole process. I really got to watch things grow a lot, the deer didn’t attack and I built a whole new bed from scratch and learned how to make cement! 

Here’s a picture of the last day of the beds, about two months after planting!

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Let’s go through it bed by bed, because I already made the pictures so why not!

This is the first bed, our three sisters bed. A three sisters bed has corn, beans and squash. The bed on the right is it about two weeks into its growth. The corn grew really well, and I discovered the joy of watching corn grow. Little pink tufts of hair stuff comes out, and all of a sudden theres what you can easily tell is an ear of corn growing off the side of the main stalk. For some reason, the squash didn’t grow well at all but getting to pick snap peas whenever I wanted was great!

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This is the leafy greens bed. You can see two weeks in that these seeded greens were barely around and then BOOM. So many little lettuce leaves, great looking chard and a ton of kale! The best part fo this bed is that basically everything was edible and kids loved hanging around it. 

Unfortunately, lettuce is not really meant to grow in the summer, since it gets really hot. The lettuce tried to bolt (get tall, give out its seeds and then die) a lot, and the leaves were really bitter. But kids loved eating it anyway. 

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The sweet bed was my personal favorite. There were three tomato plants (until the biggest one got eaten by a deer mostly), three basil plants, some seeded sunflowers, strawberries (that never grew berries) and stevia. 

The tomatoes didn’t start growing until about a week before we left so I didn’t get to pick any but it was really fun to watch and the trellising was a great learning experience. 

The most popular part of this bed was the stevia. Kids loved learning about the super sweet plant and loved eating it more. The campers who signed up to garden every day discovered a wonderful stevia treat. Grab a stevia leaf, grab a mint leaf, roll them up and chew. It tastes just like gum. It was a bit much for me, but they loved it. 

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I think I’ll write deeper things on the three sisters bed as well as the stevia so keep an eye out. Also I’ll be building a bed at my new house before I head out of the country for the semester <3

So I’m really terrible at this whole blog thing but I shan’t give up just yet. I just haven’t been on my computer more than twice a week. So here’s what I’ve been working on the last month! A sweet things bed (tomatoes, basil, strawberries, sunflower and stevia) and a three sisters bed. There’s also our herb spiral wide set so you can walk through most of it. I also have two beds of seeds but there’s not much to show for it.
Anywho, this is my summer job, and I love it.