Digging in the city: Urban Swedes get back to their roots

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A growing passion for urban gardening
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A growing passion for urban gardening
John Block, superintendent at Augustenberg Botanical Roof Garden, waters the plants in a rooftop garden in Malmo, Sweden, September 14, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov SEARCH "MAXIM DIGGING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
William Bailey, co-founder of Kajodlingen farm, adjusts a seeding machine in Gothenburg, Sweden, September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov SEARCH "MAXIM DIGGING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People stand in a greenhouse at Rosendals garden in Stockholm, Sweden, September 11, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov SEARCH "MAXIM DIGGING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A pumpkin grows at Rosendals Garden in Stockholm, Sweden, September 11, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov SEARCH "MAXIM DIGGING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A general view of Tragard pa Sparet (Garden on the track) is pictured in Stockholm, Sweden, September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov SEARCH "MAXIM DIGGING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A cabbage is seen at Augustenberg Botanical Roof Garden in Malmo, Sweden, September 14, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov SEARCH "MAXIM DIGGING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Carl Gentele, a member of Tragard Pasparet (Garden on the track), poses for a portrait in Stockholm, Sweden, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov SEARCH "MAXIM DIGGING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Pim Bendt, cultivation principal at Bee Urban, adjusts a smoker as he works with the bees at the rooftop terrace in Stockholm, Sweden, September 13, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov SEARCH "MAXIM DIGGING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Daniel Jager waters the plants on the balcony of his apartment in Stockholm, Sweden, September 29, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov SEARCH "MAXIM DIGGING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Kale grows at Kajodlingen farm in Gothenburg, Sweden, September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov SEARCH "MAXIM DIGGING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Lena Israelsson and her husband Stefan Dehlen pose for a portrait at their allotment in Tanto in Stockholm, Sweden, September 20, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov SEARCH "MAXIM DIGGING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Anna Eliason and Fredrik Alm pose for a portrait with their gardening box in Stockholm, Sweden, September 26, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov SEARCH "MAXIM DIGGING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A lettuce is pictured at Kajodlingen farm in Gothenburg, Sweden, September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov SEARCH "MAXIM DIGGING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Bees are gather on a beehive frame in Stockholm, Sweden, September 13, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov SEARCH "MAXIM DIGGING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Pelle Mattsson, intern gardener at Rosendals Garden, poses for a portrait in front of a greenhouse in Stockholm, Sweden, September 27, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov SEARCH "MAXIM DIGGING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Pelle Mattsson, intern gardener at Rosendals Garden, harvests during the harvest festival in Stockholm, Sweden, September 11, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov SEARCH "MAXIM DIGGING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Boxes with plants are pictured at Tragard pa Sparet (Garden on track) in Stockholm, Sweden, September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov SEARCH "MAXIM DIGGING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A general view on Jubileumsparkens odlarforening (Jubilee Park cultivating compound) community farm in Gothenburg, Sweden, September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov SEARCH "MAXIM DIGGING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
William Bailey shows his hands after seeding at Kajodlingen farm in Gothenburg, Sweden, September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov SEARCH "MAXIM DIGGING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Philipp Olsmeyer, founder of Tragard pa Sparet (Garden On The Railway), poses for a portrait in Stockholm, Sweden, September 18, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov SEARCH "MAXIM DIGGING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Lena Israelsson and her husband Stefan Dehlen pose for a portrait at their allotment in Tanto in Stockholm, Sweden, September 20, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov SEARCH "MAXIM DIGGING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Daniel Jager shows chilli peppers grown on the balcony of his apartment in Stockholm, Sweden, September 29, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov SEARCH "MAXIM DIGGING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
William Bailey (R) throws an pitchfork as he works together with Jonas Lindh at Kajodlingen farm in Gothenburg, Sweden, September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov SEARCH "MAXIM DIGGING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Vegetables and fruit are lie on a table at Lena Israelsson's allotment garden in Stockholm, Sweden, September 30, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov SEARCH "MAXIM DIGGING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
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STOCKHOLM, Nov 10 (Reuters) - They are doing it on the rooftops, on tower block balconies and even on a disused railway: Swedes have discovered a passion for urban gardening as a way of growing fresh food and getting back in touch with nature.

Part of a global movement, an increasing number of Swedish city-dwellers are growing their own in window boxes and allotments or are visiting public gardens built in or on industrial or office spaces.

"Up on the roofs we are able to create more bio-diverse cities," said John Block, who leads guided tours of Malmo's Augustenborg Botanical Roof Garden.

SEE ALSO: Russia's old wooden houses under threat as villages decline

Stretching over 9,500 square meters on top of local government office blocks, the garden is more than just a pretty space, he said.

"With the help of these new green areas, we're making a better urban environment with their cooling capacity and reduction of air pollutants."

Inspired by New York's Highline, a garden built on an elevated railroad, and Berlin's Prinzessinnengarten, a reclaimed wasteland, a Stockholm neighborhood has turned a disused railway into a communal space for hundreds of amateur gardeners.

Five years ago, local man Philipp Olsmeyer wanted to make his Sodermalm area greener and contacted local authorities with his idea for the Tradgard pa Sparet - Swedish for "Garden on track."

"Now there are about 200 (planter) boxes here. Some of them belong to the association and some belong to schools," he said.

A few miles away, Rosendals' Garden is a city farm popular with Stockholm's foodies who enjoy its vegetables, fruits and herbs in the greenhouse café.

Pelle Mattsson combines his job as an illustrator and graphic designer with gardening at Rosendals, something that helps keeps the city-dweller in touch with the changing seasons.

"Gardening in Sweden is season-based so I think it's a good combination," he said. "To sit in the studio and draw and spend a few days in the garden."

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