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The Hanging Gardens of St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg

Detailed description of the Good Practice

In the beginning of the 1990’s there was a severe food shortage in the Russian Federation. At that time some residents in St. Petersburg got an idea of a roof garden that would relieve the food shortage and would feed people with low income (pensioners, the unemployed …etc) even later on. Fresh vegetables and fruits were, and still are, too expensive for many Russians.

St Petersburg Urban Gardening Club (UGC), founded by a number of active residents, established a roof garden in 1994 with the help of ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization) and the non-profit Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCI). Besides the roof garden, they are also working to help other communities set up roof top gardens. They are also working with research institutes to introduce new, cheap and easy-to-grow vegetables to the Russian population as an increase in the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables would improve the population’s health.

With the help of the UGC similar projects have been established at the “Rubin” shipbuilding enterprise, at Secondary School Number 42, and at the infamous “Kresty” remand prison, home to 10 000 inmates.


Social & Health

Objectives of the Good Practice

The primary objective of the UGC is to help low-income earners have access to fresh produce. Another goal is to do this in an environmentally friendly way. In 1999, the programme expanded to establish a composting station in the building’s basement.

The first roof garden was established in 1994. After that the roof top gardening has gradually extended.

Participants of the Good Practice

  • Ms. Alla Sokol who got the original idea and is the founder of St. Petersburg Urban Garden Club (UBC)
  • Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization (ECHO)
  • Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCI)

Target group of the Good Practice

People with low income, living in Zvyozdnaya, St. Petersburg

Funding of the Good Practice

The seeds were donated by CCI as a humanitarian aid package. CCI started paying 1500 roubles a month to encourage the Club to continue to manage the project, and the following year it also donated fertilizers, hoses, boxes and plastic sheets to use on the roof. The composting project was established in 1998–1999 with some funding from the European Union programme TACIS. With a grant from the American-based Gagarin Fund, they were able to hire two single mothers to work on the project full time.
Now that the infrastructure has been established, the roof garden is designed to finance itself. Some 70% of the 300-m2 garden is devoted to producing flower and vegetable seedlings that can be sold in a shop on the first floor of the building. The UGC also sells its home-made compost, and in 2001 earned 30 000 roubles (US $1000).

More Details of the Good Practice

Documentation and documents

Available files

Data sources and references

http://www.euro.who.int/document/e80225.pdf (Visited on the 13th of October 2008)