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May 092013


We kindly invite you to help us launch a long-term project to create an alternative map of  Warsaw (in particular Ochota and Mokotów), focusing on its edible plants and trees, soil health, as well as on how public space is used for marginal human and animal activity. On this first walk we’ll experiment with methods of data collection and help identify the most edible/useful plants and trees one can find in Warsaw.

The walk will start here, near where Żwirki i Wigury crosses the railroad tracks (the address is approximately 25 Żwirki i Wigury) between Ochota and Mokotów. We will walk here on the path (Mikołaja Drigały) towards Grójecka. After the walk, we’ll go to Pixxe’s garden and drink teas made from black currant leaves, and taste some homemade elderflower cordials and wine.

The walk starts at NOON on Sunday, May 12. It will last between 2-3 hours and is approximately 1.6 km. Please call 796 532 208 if you need to locate the group after the walk has begun.

Paper, pencil, smart phone, camera, video camera.

JADALNIA WARSZAWA (Warsaw Canteen) is an exploratory map-making project to investigate and mark sites for wild food, fruits, bioindicators, and the traces of land use by humans and animals as a means to understand and assess the health of our city. It is a long-term project originated and implemented by Jodie Baltazar and Paulina Jeziorek and consists of a series of urban walks/hikes which take place from May until October 2013.

We use all means of data collection: marking directly on paper copies of maps, adding date through mobile phones to and, recording media information, such as audio, photographs, video etc. As the project progresses, we will store information on a website and develop new ways we to present the information/images as the project progresses.

The aim of walks will be:

Mapping the Neighborhood: Exploration of urban space; creating maps of urban food crops such as fruit trees and shrubs, edible flowers, herbs, medicinal plants, and plants used for dyeing fabrics. By identifying specific plants that grow on the land, we can assess the type and health of soil. We also collect information on unoccupied buildings, abandoned plots, as wells as temporary structures and signs and traces of consumption and human subsistence activity (trash, eating, fires).

Monitoring of soil: While walking, we will collect soil samples from selected sites and transmit it to the laboratory. We may also conduct other tests of the soil as to its structure and composition. In this way we will be able to assess which of the sites are suitable for harvesting crops. The data will be used to scrutinize the stereotypes about growing food in the city as well as urban consumption of edible plants.

Mar 132011

It’s difficult to identify trees at all, but especially difficult in winter. It’s March so obviously there are no leaves. I start with the easy ones. I’ve figured out that the one in the picture below must be a walnut. There are a lot of walnuts on the ground for one thing, but also the walnut branch has a very unique chambered pith inside the branches. There are three of these fellows. Huge, healthy looking things:

Walnut tree - Orzech Włoski

Walnut tree - Orzech Włoski

There are also three fruit trees–I think either pear or apple. This being Poland, most likely they are apple. One looks pretty healthy although in desperate need of pruning. The other two don’t look so good. In fact half of one of them is on the ground. The other one is half missing. They are all full of dead branches, crossing branches; they look miserable.

There is also a mystery tree. I think it might be a plum because I found some pits under it, but the pits are few and look like they’ve been there a long time. Maybe it no longer gives fruit. Some vines are strangling it.

There are also trees that I think must be cherry–cherry pits on the ground, dark peeling bark. But what kind of cherry? Two choices: wild cherry (czereśnia) or regular cherry (wiśnia). Three look pretty healthy and two are completely dead.

Cherry Tree - Czereśnia

Cherry Tree - Czereśnia?

There are also many small alder, which is great because they improve the soil, and many ash trees, some of which will be removed because they block the southern exposure and are crowding the only healthy apple tree. There are a few other trees I can’t identify yet.