How ‘Salatpiraten’ Are Rethinking Urban Gardening
We spoke with green-thumb Georg Demmer of Vienna-based community garden group Salatpiraten on how we can contribute to a greener future
As our climate changes and our population grows, our cities expand, confining green spaces to less and less of the urban landscape. It is clear that we must find new ways to exist side by side with nature, or else, suffer the consequences. It seems that it is up to the younger generations, whose future stands at the frontline in the battle against climate change, to find new ways for us to exist – symbiotically – with nature.
The team behind Salatpiraten, an ever-expanding urban design and gardening project which we at neubau eyewear are proud to collaborate with, consists of these like-minded game-changers.
Already instilled with a passion for organic living and gardening in general, this small group, based in Vienna’s Neubau district, decided to get their hands dirty and do their part.
Co-founder Georg Demmer and his team have witnessed, as in any city, the gradual decline of ‘greenery’ in their neighborhoods. And so, reaching into the earth and into the pockets of some like-minded Viennese donators, they started one small yet thriving community garden. Fast forward to today and this one garden grew into many across the city.
Of course, this is not a one-spot trend; throughout Europe and beyond, residents, young and old are now taking the spade into their own hands and participating in a new, greener future. According to Georg, the Prinzessinnengarten in Kreuzberg, Berlin is one of the most beautiful and serves as a role model when it comes to his own urban gardening projects;
‘[Berlin] also has the major advantage of very wide sidewalks and it seems the people there just modify public space more comfortably’.
We got the chance to speak with Georg about his own “green community” and what it means for a neighborhood like Neubau in Vienna.
“In 2012 I found a small abandoned and dirty public space in Neubau, the most concentrated district in central Vienna next to my little coworking café. After the idea was born to start a community garden I met a group which was in the process of developing the concept for an urban farm. We formed the Salatpiraten association and started a legal funding process with the city of Vienna. In late spring 2013 we started to build the garden, which still exists.”
Since then, Salatpiraten has now re-greened the 7th and the 19th district of Vienna, with ambitions to do more. Salatpiraten was founded with the knowledge that urban agriculture will be essential if we are to move towards a more sustainable future, but Demmer explains this cannot be the only movement for change. We must also live more mindfully.
As a member of his neighborhood coop – a food distribution outlet organized as a cooperative to source local, organic and seasonally produced products– Demmer has learnt how we can survive without supporting mass production:
“I try to reduce waste, with less plastic, reusable packaging and regular composting”, he even does his own ecological hunting, “I process the whole deer myself, from nose to tail”.
Groups like Salatpiraten and environmentally aware individuals like Georg, are part of an international movement, inspiring others to be mindful of their environment.
Here are some tips, according to the co-founder himself, to live more consciously:
- Know where your food is coming from and care about the planet
- Keep your body fit and do yoga
- Reduce social media & read books
If you’re looking for some inspiration – whether it be for lifestyle or even cooking, Demmer has some suggestions. For some Instagram inspo, head to @pennyfox.me for some green-thumb advice. If you’re looking to start your own garden and don’t know which plants to plant first then look no further than the Aubergine. According to Demmer, Aubergine is a good all rounder, meal-wise, and also an easy one to grow.
No matter which plants you are growing in your urban oasis, Demmer makes it clear it’s not hard to contribute to a greener future. You can find out more about your local community garden groups by doing a quick search online, on Facebook or even Instagram… or you can start your own!