City living often removes people from nature and from where their food comes from, but an initiative in Moscow proves that doesn’t need to be the norm. Russian architecture firm Wowhaus recently completed Urban Farm, a development in Moscow’s VDNKh park that reconnects children with nature by teaching them how to grow their own food and how to cook meals. The farm in the city is the first of its kind in Moscow and covers a variety of agricultural activities from raising livestock to tending vegetable gardens.
Located next to the Kamenskiye Ponds, the three-hectare Urban Farm comprises a series of open-air and covered areas built mainly of timber based on wooden house archetypes such as double-pitched roofs. The development is made up of three main educational areas: the livestock zone that includes a barn with chicken coops and pasture for the nearly 60 animals on site including goats, sheep, cows, and more; the workshops zone; and the crop zone that includes greenhouses, orchard, and vegetable garden. The Urban Farm is also home to a restaurant that includes a small cooking school for kids, a kiosk and picnic area, a library, children’s play area, and children’s fishing zone.
Children are not only allowed to interact with animals, but are also encouraged to take care of them by preparing their food or directly feeding them. Staff teach children how to further care for the livestock and the economics and management of farming such as balancing a farm budget and making financial decisions. An on-site veterinarian makes sure all animals are well taken care of. Workshops housed in the beautiful arched buildings offer classes on pottery, woodworking, and other artistic pursuits. The greenhouses, clad in a pineapple-like facade, include hydroponic farming for herbs and vegetables, soil-based farming for flowers, and a nursery for more exotic plants.
“The main objective of the project is to educate,” says a statement on VDNHk’s website. “Live exhibition is aimed primarily at children, but, as the experience shows not only kids, but also adults are happy to come here. All year round there will be held master classes, lectures, thematic presentations of plants and animals, as well as different recreational activities.”