Gardening Sustainable Living

Pigs and Avocados

Pigs and Avocados: This article is a chapter from Viktorie Hanišová’s book, Beton a hlína [in English: Concrete and Clay], a collection of interviews with individuals practicing eco-friendly and sustainable ways of living in urban environments.

On the northwestern outskirts of Prague lies a district named Vinoř. Right here, on the site of the prehistoric Nad Obůrkami hillfort, one finds Pastvina, a community garden and animal sanctuary. It feels like being in the backwoods, although we are still within the cadastral boundary of the capital city: there are garden beds with familiar and less familiar crops, the smell of horses, the constant cluck-clucking of chickens and grunting of pigs.

A tidy garden it is not. There are things strewn all over: garden tools, wooden boards, tires, and other clutter. Chicken droppings are scattered on the ground and there’s even manure. It’s here that, going on four years now, gardener Marco Stella has been cultivating the land.

For this interview, we sit down in the open “atrium,” which serves as a communal space for the community gardeners. Marco offers me water from the local well. I cautiously ask if it’s potable, as I must admit the environment doesn’t inspire complete trust in me. Marco just makes a face: “Worst case scenario, you’ll get the runs.”

The rest of this article is an interview between the author and Marco Stella, the head gardener and originator of this sustainable growing space. They discuss space use, water issues and the finances of the garden.

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