Reconnecting people back to the land.
Located in an old rice field area of Phra Kanong district in Bangkok, Root Garden offers a haven of lush greenery in trendy Thong Lo. Packed with chic hotels, stores and restaurants, Thong Lo serves as a playground to Bangkok’s high society children, aptly dubbed the ‘hi-so’.
Since it first opened last month, the Root Garden has been aiming to re-kindle the relationship between the city’s people and the land. The mini garden’s management team plans to achieve this through agricultural and food education, community activities and inciting residents to come and embrace the beauty of the garden, its 20 chickens and four baby goats.
Funded by Oxfam Thailand, the Root Garden café beckons you inside with promises of organic coffee, tea and homemade ice cream. Located at the front of the garden, the cafe doubles as a store where you can buy freshly hatched organic eggs and a variety of other food produce grown in neighbouring countries.
Lettuce, a non-native vegetable to Thailand is the most popular crop grown in the garden while half of the plants growing at Root Garden are native to the Asian continent. All the plants benefit from a solid regime of composted soil.
Since its opening, the mini garden initiated two community events:
- RootTalk, a monthly debate run at RootGarden on the second Sunday of every month with various speakers. The first RootTalk, ran earlier this month, was a discussion surrounding the themes of love in farming, gardening and agriculture.
- RootMarket, held every Sunday hosts local Thai farmers who sell their organic produce. With a total of 14 booths, RootMarket provides an easy access to organic fruits and vegetables in the densely populated megacity. RootGarden also provides organic farmers who cannot afford the high cost associated with securing a booth at more established markets, with a free outlet for their crops. Every second and fourth Sunday of the month RootMarket also doubles as a workshop where volunteers teach farming techniques to the visitors.
With a one year left on the land lease, when asked about the long-term goals of the project, Tong – the manager of Root Garden – replied simply that he hopes that visitors will be ‘inspired to think about the land and their food’. His hope it to set an example for how vacant land can be repurposed for something positive for the community.
‘Whether it is a garden like this one, or a playground for kids, it is about not wasting land. That is why the name of this garden is ‘RootGarden’. It is a direct message, going back to the root of the city and its land’. – Tong
The RootGarden serves as an example of community engagement with organic farming techniques, while raising awareness about the importance of our health in connection with the land and the food we harvest from it.
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