Urban garden in Shanghai: Jiashan Skyfarm

Today I am going to talk about an urban garden in Shanghai. It’s called Jiashan Skyfarm and it works thanks to the work of several volunteers and the Good to China association, which started this project three years ago (I already told you about it in the post Urban Nature in China, much more than orchards !)

Julianne (who you can see next to us in the photo) is one of the people who collaborate in the orchard. Thanks to her, who kindly showed it to us, we can tell you a few things about her and show you several photos of this cool space. I hope you like it

Where is this urban garden in Shanghai?

The Jiashan Skyfarm is on the roof of a two-story building very close to the center of Shanghai, just above the market that bears the same name.

As Julianne told us, the Jiashan market is set up twice a month (on the first and third Saturdays) in the small square and adjacent streets just below this urban garden in Shanghai. It is a market where fruits, vegetables, tea, soft drinks, sweets and some typical Chinese ornaments or souvenirs are sold. We weren’t lucky enough to see it, but if you pass through Shanghai one of these Saturdays, don’t hesitate to come by. It has a very good atmosphere and there is also live music (I leave you some photos that Julianne has passed us).

If you don’t go on a Saturday when it’s packed, it doesn’t matter because there are a lot of very picturesque cafes in the square, and, of course, the garden on the rooftop is very charming and the views of the little square are also worth it. The address is: ShanXi Nan Lu, Lane 550, No. 37/D.

Who farms the Jiashan Skyfarm and why?

Volunteers interested in organic and urban agriculture work in this urban garden in Shanghai. Some are students at NY University in Shanghai. As Julianne told me, these students attended a club related to Urban Agriculture and the sustainability of cities and their teachers told them that participating in an urban garden in Shanghai would be a good way to put into practice what they learned at university. Thanks to this, the atmosphere of this community garden is multicultural, and we can find people of various nationalities.

Volunteer meeting at the Jiashan Skyfarm

There are other gardeners, like Julianne, who simply want to grow because gardening is relaxing and allows them to interact with nature. In addition, as she told me, participating in projects as a volunteer gives her great personal satisfaction (she has been in NGOs or solidarity projects for more than three years).

Being able to collaborate in an urban garden, helping to improve the sustainability and the environment of the city, seems to him to be something very interesting within the types of volunteering that he has done. The improvement of the environment of the cities of China, he says, is something essential, due to their overpopulation and the pollution problem, so green spaces like this one are very important to help mitigate this problem (I already told you I told some of this in the post Urban agriculture in China Why is it necessary?).

Finally, Juliane told me that the activity in the garden also helps her learn how to grow crops. She is interested in gardening as she wants to have her own garden like her father did. She says that if she grows her vegetables herself she will have a healthier diet and she will eat much tastier food than she can buy outside of her.

What activities do they do?

In addition to being a source of entertainment for the gardeners who grow it, this urban garden in Shanghai has other uses.

For example, when the harvest is good, they sell the products at the Jiashan market.

There are also several rental plots that can be worked by people from the neighborhood who want to grow their own vegetables but do not have enough space at home. The rental parcels cost about 1,200 yuan per year (just under 170 euros per year) and include the use of space, the tools needed in the garden, irrigation and advice from an expert instructor in urban agriculture.

Training activities and workshops for schools are also carried out in this urban garden in Shanghai. The space is open for teachers to come with their students and teach them the botanical concepts they have learned in the classroom.

As you can see, it is a very interesting open space. An example to follow in my opinion!

Many thanks to Juliane and other members of Good to China for giving us the opportunity to visit. In the next post Ecological management at Jianshan Skyfarm, Álvaro will tell you a little more and you will be able to see a super cool video of the place!

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