Harvest time


Children harvest fruit and vegetables in the Star of the North

Properties with garden are rather the exception in Dortmund’s Nordstadt. Most people live in blocks of flats. Only very few residents contemplate growing and cultivating things themselves or they do not have the means. Many children only get salad, fruit or vegetables in tins or from the supermarket, not from directly the soil.

Ulrike Ruopp, who is normally mainly in charge of lunch and the kitchen in the Star of the North, has found a way how to give children an understanding of growing and cultivating fruit and vegetables in the true sense of the word: together with children from the neighbourhood, she has filled a few boxes with soil mixed with horse manure from the farm, added all sorts of seeds in spring, watered everything regularly during the coming weeks, thinned out the seedlings, weeded and did everything else needed for a successful patch.


Ulrike Ruopp (back) with Yusef, Luis, Olivia (left to right) and some other children has cultivated the beds and kept a regular diary

Proud of the harvested radish

The children helped a lot. Some kept a diary and recorded how the plants developed. When summer came they were able to harvest their fruit of labour. One of the “allotment holders” was so proud of “his” radish that he did not want to eat it but take it home to show his mother.

Assuming responsibility, getting to know God’s creation, developing an understanding for biology – these are experiences, projects such as these in the Star of the North can convey to children. They are not really interested that experts call plants in boxes in a small area ‘urban gardening’. However, they are impressed that someone is taking the time to share these experiences with them. Ulrike Ruopp plans to plant even more boxes next year.