Seed City is a community garden, founded in 2010 by students from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), a technical university in Zurich, Switzerland. The project was the winner of “ecoworks”, a workshop for ETH students and staff, which aims to reduce the carbon footprint of the campus (Hofmänner & Pohl 2010: 52, 57). ETH provided the ground for setting up the garden and supported the project in the first two years financially. The connection to a university is what distinguishes this community garden from others, since there are many synergy effects, such as financial support, member recruitment as well as educational support.
The garden is on the outskirts of the Science City ETH campus, which is located at the periphery of Zurich close to the forest. Since massive construction works are going on on the campus, the garden is on one side flanked by new buildings and on the other side it borders the forest and agricultural land. Therefore, the garden can be seen as the connecting element between the urban and the rural.
The main aim of the garden is to teach people how to successfully grow their own food. In order to achieve this, professional gardeners are invited to share their knowledge with the members of SeedCity on “activity days” and these people can then subsequently teach others about what they have learnt. They call this process “spread the seed” in order to involve as many people as possible.
The garden is also a platform to meet like-minded people and to socialise. A fireplace is the gathering point for barbequing in the summer.
Today, the garden lives on its own budged. Members have to pay a contribution, which is reinvested into equipment and the salary for the professional gardeners.
Of course everybody can become a gardener at SeedCity. In the beginning only students and Ph.D. students from ETH were participating, but since then local residents became interested and are gardening with them now.
Over the years the garden has diversified. Not only vegetables and berries are grown there, but since 2013 a fruit orchard is part of their garden. Furthermore, a small pond was built and a possible extension of the garden area is under discussion with ETH.
Unfortunately, no connections were made to the agronomy department of ETH, but this could be a possible strength for similar future projects in collaboration with universities in other cities (All information from: seedcity.ch and email communication with SeedCity managing board 30
Image credit: SeedCity.ch