Project MEG 1.0
Mobile Edible Gardens
In the fall of 2020, I conducted a neighborhood food and garden survey. Living downtown Oakland, in the most densely populated part of town, with new condo towers rising and blocking out the sun, there's not much space. Yet, with food prices skyrocketing and shortages in food availability and distribution due to the pandemic, more people are taking advantage of whatever space they have - balconies, sidewalks, fences - to grow food. I was curious: Would people be interested in community gardening?
91 people responded, with 70 people completing the full survey. Of the respondents, 87% don’t have a yard, but about half of them grow either vegetables or herbs.
94% of people expressed interest in a community garden nearby. Almost all respondents said the ideal location for a neighborhood garden would be less than a mile from home, with 66% of people saying they’d like it even closer, less than five blocks from home.
The top three reasons people provided when asked why they would be interested in participating in a community garden are: 1) Access to fresh vegetables; 2) community involvement; and 3) to learn about gardening.
So, let’s grow together!
Mobile Edible Gardens (MEG)
Given the absence of immediately available space, we're going to experiment with container gardening. In the spring of 2021, we are deploying a series of Mobile Edible Gardens (MEG for short).
We're planning to set up 3-5 MEGs in our neighborhood in early spring (taking advantage of empty tree wells, and neighbors willing to adopt a MEG). Each MEG comes with five containers with edible plants, with space to expand.
The goal is to share the yield with people in our neighborhood.
What does a MEG look like?
We're currently experimenting with a design by Kyler Hurley (@plntdude on Instagram). It's a beautifully simple design, using repurposed pallets and wheels. Here are some sketches.
We start with a simple repurposed pallet:
We add wheels:
We work with artists to beautify the MEGs:
We install the MEGs in the neighborhood and add containers with edible plants.
Throughout the season, we provide support to volunteers:
This project is funded by sales on this website. More products will be added to the shop throughout the year. If you’d like to support this project, get involved, or learn more, please reach out. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.