To mark the opening of a new residential development in Northcote, a group of roasters, designers and developers have come together to bring new life to the neighbourhood through coffee, urban gardening and architecture.
Each weekend in March, passersby will be drawn inside 350 Clarke Street, Northcote by two intriguing factors: the tantalising waft of freshly roasted coffee and the shock of an unexpected, vibrant swathe of greenery inside the modern space.
Padre Coffee, the team of roasters behind the Brunswick East Project and League of Honest Coffee, has set up on the ground floor and are already serving up coffee, giving neighbours a taste of what is likely to be become a permanent café.
While you might have come in for the espresso, you are likely to linger a little longer, scratching your head as to why that bag of coffee beans on the counter seems to have sprouted a tuft of parsley, as if on cue.
Well, it’s the work of Urban Commons – the design consultants with a knack for ‘foodscaping’ – who have installed communal, edible garden spaces in the new building. Busting to chat and exchange ideas about eating and growing food creatively in our limited urban spaces, the brains behind Urban Commons will be onsite over the month, giving away their ‘gardens in a bag’ – fresh, sweet-smelling herbs planted in recycled coffee bags.
“It’s a simple proposition,” explains co-director Shawn Ashkanasy. “To get people to think about what they eat and where its grown, and that idea that you can actually have fun and make these small gestures – in this case, recycling a coffee bag.”
The bags, although simple, invite a conversation about our interconnecting relationships with food, waste and small living spaces, and how we can utilise those three things in a positive way.
By bringing together the elements of coffee and edible greenery to the neighbourhood, the intention is to create a friendly communal space for both residents and curious pedestrians.
As Ashkanasy explains, it’s all part of an effort to “break away from this idea of a residential development being an island”, but rather part of a bigger, living ecology of other buildings and the broader community.
Visit 350 Clarke Street, Northcote to grab a coffee or a garden bag on Saturdays and Sundays between 2pm to 4pm until March 24.