Associated with University Botanic Gardens of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”

Meeting the local communities

On 30th March, 2017 The University Botanic Gardens of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” held a meeting with representatives from local communities focused on food security and the more specific topic of urban agriculture. The goal of this event was to demonstrate different activities related to BigPicnic in order to receive feedback and improve our future exhibitions. 

Gaining feedback from participantsPhoto credit: UBG

Attendees were invited university lecturers, staff from the university administration, primary and secondary school teachers, local retailers from the market situated around the botanic garden, a chef and friends.

During the meeting different possibilities for growing edible plants were presented and demonstrated: vertical gardens, planting a raised bed on a terrace, etc. Participants also took part in practical gardening activities and investigated an exhibition about little known edible plants and forgotten traditions in Bulgarian culture. 

On a separate stand we presented issues of our magazine LEAF - Botanical Observer, a publication which aims to promote ‘food from nature’.

At the meeting a professional chef gave a demonstration based on species from the previous gardening activity– for example a basil pesto. This was accompanied by recipes using the herbs that were planted.

Importantly, we also provided a special place to write down feedback. These ideas will be used to formulate and improve the BigPicnic exhibitions.

To end the event we all shared a picnic on the grass.

Demonstration of pesto makingPhoto credit: UBG

This first step in the co-creation process provided a great opportunity to present BigPicnic to its stakeholders, share best practice about urban agriculture and receive feedback about BigPicnic exhibitions - a lot of ideas were generated during the informal conversations!