“As the initiative’s godparents, we proposed to City Hall that we would invest in and maintain a garden that solely benefits the community; neither restaurant will ever receive any produce,” he says.
At the end of February, carpenters busily constructed ten purpose-built raised vegetable planters and four composters on site; at the start of March, Ana Armendariz, a gardener who has managed an array of community gardens and worked with psychiatric patients and former inmates, began working three days a week to create a biointensive cultivation map. While she plans the biodynamic calendar – the first seedlings to be planted according to the lunar phases included garlic, fennel, chard, chives, kale, beans and potatoes – she also runs workshops on agroecology and healthy eating habits for school children and local residents. Later this autumn, Armendariz will introduce the ancient Central American milpa cultivation system to sow corn, bean and gourd seedlings.
Photo by: Government of the City of Buenos Aires
Like many metropolises during the pandemic, community gardens have sprouted up in Buenos Aires, from around 13 to 33, but Huerta Luna de Enfrente stands out for being sustainable and well organised. “While some other community projects are anarchic and spontaneous, with people planting whatever they please, this is a pedagogical garden and one of its goals is to donate its ingredients,” says Armendariz.
In a city that manages to recycle 46 percent of 6,000 tons of waste produced daily, neighbours are encouraged to bring their organic residues to feed the four composters, which in turn fill the raised vegetable beds. And besides breathing new life into Huerta Luna de Enfrente with an additional 55 m2 of greenery, local fauna is also flourishing, bees and butterflies darting and floating around the chamomile and lettuces. Sooner or later, it seems everyone will be winning, comedores and ONGs receiving tasty organic veggies, green-fingered neighbours whose view has been much improved and the urban ecosystem, all coming together to form a new community.
“This was a lost public space, but by September it will be filled with life,” adds Armendariz.
Huerta Luna de Enfrente opens to the public daily from 10am-6pm, Gurruchaga and Soler, Palermo, Buenos Aires.