‘Lekk’ is a Wolof word meaning edible, or tasty.
Tiny gardens like this exist all over Senegal, even in tight urban areas . Tended mainly by women, they are built from found detritus, cans, tyres, plastic, sticks – but are highly productive, supplying a wide range of fruit and vegetables for the extended family community, and for sale at markets.
Despite their appearance, high-tech methods are used including biochar added to the soil to increase fertility, and sometimes GM seeds to boost productivity. Medicines as well as foodstuffs are produced. Currently there are over a million Senegalese working these miniature farms and their efforts are seen as a vital contributor to the subsistence economy. But because land ownership isn’t clear, and there is pressure from developers, these plots are under threat, and with them, the knowledge, resourcefulness, and livelihoods of the farmers.
These gardens are the inspiration for our installation at Clerkenwell Design Week 2015 for Moroso. This long-established Italian furniture brand has worked with high-profile designers to create a range of outdoor furniture which depend on the skills of Senegalese basket weavers and for some years they have supported a manufacturing base in Dakar. Created from highly coloured string, pieces from the M’Afrique range will be on display in the garden.
Following on from the installation at Clerkenwell Design Week, all the plants and soil from the garden will be added to the stock at an urban farm in London. Pop Farm is the green element of the container-park business development, Pop Brixton. (uncommon) landscape consultants are responsible for vegetating this challenging environment which opens on My 29th and features two other Chelsea Fringe events, Portable Orchard and the Garden of Disorientation, Vol 2.