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Urban farming; Margate’s potential ‘Pod’ garden

To the rest of the UK, Margate is best known for being a seaside town. Visits there typically include a trip to Dreamland amusement park or the Turner Contemporary art gallery. Away from the gaze of tourists, Margate is economically depressed. The rate of unemployment in Margate is higher than the national average and for the whole of Kent. Locals describe the town as bustling in the summer seasons, but dead over winter.

On the 20th of June, Thanet District Council validated a planning application to change a disused piece of land to a garden centre with a “POD structure”. This development is the brainchild of Margate House owner Lana Vanzetta. According to the Isle of Thanet News, the POD is a “pavilion style urban farm bringing small-scale agriculture to the town centre.”

Image of Pod garden as per planning application: F/TH/19/0766

According to Vanzetta’s planning application, the aim of the development is: “to develop and strengthen links with local residents, to combat loneliness and isolation by having a fun and beautiful garden oasis on the High Street.” In turn, the project claims it will deliver training opportunities and leisure activities for socially and economically disadvantaged residents.

According to Lushspace.io head gardener, Mus, the defunct highway behind Margate House is a good spot to build such a structure. With full sun and shield from all the buildings, the area is well suited to a multi-sensory, edible garden. On analysing the garden’s planned layout, Mus’ advice is that extra care should be taken with watering. For any garden that receives this amount of sun, setting up a small, efficient irrigation system would be the best bet.

Although a decision on the planning application itself is still to be made, it is encouraging to see the development of such projects. To have such an installation in the middle of town will provide gardening experience and offer a source of wellbeing.