The Green Ark (Bostanie – Community Garden)
The community garden “Bostanie” is a recent community in the making, with beginnings in 2019, when the civic organization “The Green Ark” set off to design and develop the community garden within the project “Development of The First Urban Garden in Skopje”, funded by the City of Skopje. We practice a participatory approach since the start, so the gardeners have a sense of belonging and shared responsibility. Currently about forty participants grow edible, aromatic and medicinal plants in the garden for personal use. Our aim is to establish a community seed bank of heirloom seed varieties, we are part of a regional network for preservation and exchange of seeds. There are several cultivated varieties of herbs, and several self-sown herbs that we use for nutrition, spice, medicine, to attract pollinators and to protect garden crops from pests. Sharing knowledge – scientific, traditional or personal – is a key value in Bostanie. Cultural and artistic aspects of gardening are important in the community garden, thus we organize events to mark that and celebrate as a community.
The meaning of the word Bostanie is composite, a wordplay made up of ‘vostanie’ (uprising) and ‘bostan’ (watermelon, melon, garden). The Green Ark has been working since 2007 along the principles of permaculture design and hands-on application of agroecology. We have founded other similar gardens before, but Bostanie is the largest and the most developed so far, in terms of surface area, infrastructure and most importantly extent of community engagement.