Through the Plant Exchange event, participants learn to identify plants in their garden and understand what to grow and how. They are also able to share their plants, adopting the ethos of sharing, reusing, recycling and organic living. Participants are able to drop off their plants and/or pick up free plants at the event and it is a great day for community building. The idea is that it is both free and fun!
The Plant Exchange is a free community event for gardeners, landscapers, urban farmers, outdoor enthusiasts and all interested participants. People share plants of all types and sizes. Enthusiasts of gardening tend to grow several plants, sometimes having an excessive amount. As opposed to pruning and disposing of these additional plants, they would prefer to share and recycle them.
Exchange dates are usually announced about six weeks before the event and happen either in Spring and Autumn. The event takes place outdoors and can be near the city gardens (where people have their own small gardens) or can take place in a large car park or city park. If you are able to collaborate with a Garden Centre, an event could be held there.
The main objective of this event is:
To help the local community recognise indigenous, economic plants and protect them. Many plants may be or are at the risk of becoming rare in some areas, these plants can be protected and propagated in private gardens.
Other objectives include:
To get people interested in gardening and growing some of their own food, such as fruit and vegetables. Some people living in cities often do not recognise plants and seeing how vegetables grow is both illuminating and useful, especially for children.
To encourage green practices and make cities greener. Communities can aid build greener neighborhoods and also get to know each other in the process.
- Adult citizens
- Children 3-6
- Children 7-12
You can do it with all those groups, but we did it with professionals from different fields like public engagement or the cultural and creative sector.
People learn what it means to protect the environment, preserve cultural heritage, how to promote active citizenship and environmental awareness. The event brings nature into the cities and provides a unique experience for city inhabitants. It is important to understand the role of plants for humankind and to promote a strong sense of community.
Main Event Duration: Full day
Project Duration: Several weeks
Preparation for the main event starts by selecting the venue. The set-up of the event includes tables or other means of displaying plants, as well as cardboard boxes, paper bags, or even wheelbarrows to store plants. A supply of water would also be useful, and basic tools to clean up afterwards, such as dustpan and brushes.
It may be a possibility to collaborate with organisations that are interested in aspects of biology, organic living, climate change, sustainability, or greener choices, who may help with the logistics and may also know of experts who could give a presentation or host a workshop about a particular topic. Garden centres are often eager to be sponsors nd participate at these sort of events. Members of the city council may also want to participate and give a brief presentation.
It’s a good idea to ask people to label their plants beforehand and to be ready to introduce them. One can also just donate plants if he or she has too many in their own garden. Individual stalls should be organised and set up by the participants, with the plants they wish to exchange or donate to others. Stall owners can also leave their table or storage place for a while to walk around the venue and see what other people are offering.
You may need to consider providing catering options.