RCE Suzhou - 2023

Shared Vegetable Garden in a Community
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Shared Vegetable Garden in a Community
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Suzhou
Contributing organization(s) : 
Suzhou Green Light Year
Meisong Community
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Ms. Nannan XIE
Organizational Affiliation: 
Suzhou Green Light Year
Format of project: 
Language of project: 
English (We have Chinese version, if you need it, please contact us)
Date of submission:
Wednesday, September 6, 2023
《长三角州区域一体化发展规划纲要》 《苏州市生活垃圾分类管理条例》
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province, China
Address of focal point institution for project: 
2F, 13#, No 388 Street, Suzhou Industrial Park
Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Ecological environment: Suzhou Industrial Park, which belongs to the subtropical humid monsoon climate zone, is one of the most developed urban areas in China, and therefore attaches great importance to the health of the environment.
Social Economy: Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) has 8 sub-districts under jurisdiction with a resident population of 1,133,927 according to the data of the Seventh National Census. Since its establishment, the economic and social development of the SIP has been sound and sustained.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
Residents in Meisong community have a relatively weak level of awareness over the methods and significance of waste classification, and have not yet developed the habit of waste classification.
July, 2020
Although local government has enforced waste classification since June 2020, many community residents fail to see the real significance of waste classification. The understanding of waste classification by residents remains at the level of “I’m required to do waste classification”. How to make residents change their mindset from “I’m required to waste classification” to “I want to do waste classification” is the core of environmental self-governance of community. The essence of creating an environment in a community is to create people, for only with people can life, culture and community be created.
Ø To tap and nurture a group of volunteers with leadership strengths and to enhance residents’ awareness and participation in waste classification in order to further improve the efficiency of terminal waste disposal and reducing food and water waste.

Ø To take advantages of the public space to teach community residents the techniques of planting and family-composting, organic and seasonal food, and popularize the importance of “Food Miles”.
Ø To ensure residents understand the economic value, edible value, medicinal value and other multi-value of plants and strengthen people's awareness of protecting biodiversity through activities such as environmental DIY workshops and lectures.
Ø To ensure all generations enjoy the sustainable lifestyles and co-build community harmony.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
Group Work Method:
Identify and cultivate community leaders; Develop volunteer management teams: 3 times
Residents participate in the design of a shared vegetable garden: 1 time
Elect the head gardener and assistant;
Jointly formulate a contract for sharing the vegetable garden
The renovation of the shared vegetable garden: 5 times, soil cultivation, organic fertilizer application, planting, and watering
Supervision meeting and summary meeting: 2 times; The meetings solved the problems encountered by management team, and further developed the multiple functions of the shared vegetable garden to meet the needs of residents, and designed photo albums as gifts so that the neighborhood committee and the management team could express their wishes to each other with gifts.
Size of academic audience: 
Till 30 August, 2023, residents have been self-managing the Share Vegetable Garden for three years, and approximately 2100 kg kitchen waste has been dealt by composting and the composting product – fertilizer - is used to plants in Shared Vegetable Garden and the public garden in the community.

This project has been reported by local media for 7 times, and been published on the China Environmental Journal (national journal), and the 11th issue of GROUND UP in 2022.

The project won Zero Carbon Community Innovation Case on the event International Youth Innovation Conference and the Best Practice Case Award on the event Healthy Diet, Healthy Planet Practice Collection.
Lessons learned: 
Let Demands from the Community Speak for Themselves。In one meeting, when discussing how to fertilize the flowers and vegetables, residents expressed interest in it being organic and pollution-free. After listening to the residents’ desires for the project, we suggested that they use a public compost bucket to make fertilizer themselves; in our work with Mei Song Garden residents we prioritized listening to the community’s needs and allowing them to lead the project, and supporting these decisions with expert advice. In this way, we were able to establish intimate connections with the residents and help them become more active participants

Build Consensus through Deep Participation The guardians of Mei Song Flower Field jointly developed the Flower Field Contract around seven aspects: Flower Field Name、Responsibilities of the Director and so on.
Key messages: 
Through developing community's ability on self-management, cultivating community leadership, we achieved translating kitchen waste into fertilizer. By 2023, we have totally take advantage of 2100 kg kitchen watse.
50, 000 RMB by Meisong Community Committee
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 2 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture 
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 
Plants & Animals 
ESD for 2030-Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level 
I acknowledge the above: