Community garden in Madrid: THIS IS A SQUARE Lavapiés

Good farmers! We continue to know the Network of community gardens in Madrid  and last week we had the pleasure of being in the urban garden of ESTA ES UNA PLAZA.

I am going to confess that making these reports we feel very gratifying because we are getting to know orchards located in such characteristic points of Madrid such as El Campo de Cebada , Cantarranas or Montecarmelo ; of which we did not have much knowledge.

ESTASUNAPLAZA could not be out of tune, and is located in the Lavapies neighborhood. Let’s get to know them

How did  ESTA ES UNA PLAZA start ?

In 2008 , in the Lavapíes neighborhood , a group of people used an abandoned lot owned by the city council to carry out a workshop on the occupation of empty spaces. The main idea was a temporary intervention to transform the wasteland into a green space,  the orchard being the central point of this.

This workshop should have lasted a week, but the neighborhood was very successful and they wanted to continue. This led to a long process with the city council in which, in between, the neighbors had to deal with an eviction and destruction of what was inside. Meanwhile, work was being done on obtaining the relevant licenses.

Finally in 2009, the members of  ESTA ES UNA PLAZA  obtained a temporary occupation license for 5 years. At the moment, this permission is about to run out but, they are calm since they believe that the objective has been fulfilled. They have created a space for meeting and socializing within the neighborhood where they carry out many cultural and artistic activities.

Right now, you can find in  ESTA ES UNA PLAZA   a good variety of free workshops  for everyone. In the two days that we have visited this space, we have been lucky enough to enjoy an improvised theater workshop and a ladies’ concert with a great atmosphere. If the idea of ​​getting closer is biting you, here is their website where you can find their activities

How are they organized?

As you can see, there is a good variety of activities. The organization of all of them is carried out through working groups  in which they later meet in an assembly to deliberate on the organization of the space.

How is the garden of ESTA ES UNA PLAZA?

It is a totally shared orchard , that is to say; There is a specific work group for the garden, which is the one that manages the garden. There is no separation of terraces by family or friends. All the terraces belong to everyone . This spirit is noticeable even at the time of collection, in which what is collected is shared with all members of the plaza. THE GARDEN BELONGS TO EVERYONE!

Regarding the design of the orchard, the GRAMA association (Group of Action for the Environment) lent a hand to ESTAESUNAPLAZA in the manufacture of the terraces. Later, the neighbors began to learn for themselves, each one contributing their wisdom.

Is it an organic garden?

Absolutely YES , it is an ecological garden that belongs to the  Red de Huertos de Madrid  

At the beginning, THIS IS A PLAZA   bought the seedlings and little by little it has been getting its own seeds , thanks to a seedbed that they have; and they have been exchanging with other orchards of the ReHd Mad !. So right now, most of the seeds come from the exchange with other orchards.

Inside the terraces, we have seen that the members have done a good planning of the garden . To foresee any possible plague of an insect, they have placed the aromatics at the beginning and at the end of each terrace. In addition, they plan to rotate the crop to facilitate the absorption of nutrients and prevent soil erosion.

What other handling do you use in ESTA ES UNA PLAZA?

They explained to us that they had used potash soap and nettle slurry at some point, especially at the beginning of the orchard.

The garden consists of a drip irrigation system  that is used in the summer time. During the winter, they have a winter garden but they don’t use drip irrigation, instead they water as needed manually.

They have also installed a compost bin for the manufacture of their own compost , which have good signage in which it clarifies for people what to throw (raw vegetables, coffee, non-citrus fruits to avoid a sharp drop in pH). They have three differentiated areas: an area where organic waste is deposited, another area where it is at rest and a third where they have worms.

As I have said recently, they have a seedbed that has a curious history. In C / Olivar there was a field where they celebrated the Lavapiés film festival and had a complex geodesic-shaped dome designed that they moved without dismantling it when they vacated the site. 


In addition to the orchard, the ESTA ES UNA PLAZA space  has more than 30 fruit trees.

Other things they have are composting workshops, seed … and have with a radius gardener !

The management of the garden is open to anyone and if you are interested you can come on Wednesdays and Sundays which is the garden work day. For more information visit their website and Facebook. We encourage you to visit it.

See you in the orchard!

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