Location and project description

The Botildenborg project


Botildenborg is a small urban farm and meeting place in Malmö, integrating the three sustainability spheres, namely social, ecological, and economical. The farm focuses on market gardening and social farming. The enterprise is a mix of for-profit and non-profit which allows for both applying for funding for social projects as well as enabling to bring profit to the farm through sales, workshops and other activities. 

Botildenborg appears as an urban space on the city’s outskirts and next to the city’s bypass. On a broader scale, Skåne – the county, is a traditional agricultural landscape with great conditions for farming, such as flat topography, good soil, and mild weather. The soil consists mainly of heavy clay, and the site is on a slow slope from west to east, benefitting from solar radiation throughout the year but also being highly exposed to wind. Accordingly, throughout the year, it is windy on site; the winters are wet, with main rain and little snow, whilst the past summers have been very hot and dry. The land is leased by Malmö Stad (the local municipality), while Botildenborg owns the building.


Existing urban farm activities

  • Social farming with outdoor cooking 
  • Market gardening 
  • Monthly markets, where the public and other local farmers participate, boosting knowledge about the project among the local population and contributing to short food supply chains 
  • Study visits by various groups, including students, municipalities, growers and private companies


Other activities at Botildenborg related to the farm

More creative ways they engage with companies and the public are events such as Cook, eat and talk, where participants go out and harvest at the farm and then learn how to cook dishes with the food ambassadors from the kitchen. Since the pandemic, they also do a digital version (without the harvesting) called digital cook along. The kitchen uses the harvest from the farm Monday to Friday, mainly when the house is open for lunch, conferences, and study visits. The kitchen also produces a lot of preserves and condiments, especially when there is a crop surplus. This can be ferments, pickles, salts, oils etc.

At times companies, students, and other prominent groups come to work at the farm as a part of a more extensive experience of Botildenborg; this is useful for big tasks. 


Farming spaces at Botildenborg

There are multiple growing spaces within the farm:

  • The social garden: used by school groups and for community gardening with different groups. The primary purpose of this space is education and social interactions; it is a garden for experimenting on a small scale and learning through doing. School groups (ages 5-16) visit the social garden 1-3 times weekly. Besides, a community garden project occurs one afternoon/evening a week. The social garden’s main space is the outdoor kitchen, a fire pit used regularly for cooking the farm produce with the groups. In this space, several ways of growing food are used, including no-dig, raised beds, and perennial food crops, all with only manual labour without any machinery.

  • The perennial food garden (currently under implementation) formerly hosted the social garden; some work is underway, and funding applications are being compiled to transform the space into an edible forest.

  • The market garden grows food for the kitchen and the farm shop. It is farmed using small-scale market garden principles and only manual labour and hand-driven tools designed for small-scale market gardening. The food is grown using organic principles and with low tillage. 

  • Former test beds, where until 2022, farmers partaking in the Incubator Program for Urban Farming could practice cultivation and experiment with different techniques. Whilst the funding for this project is over, the space currently has no use.

  • The polytunnel: is used by both the market garden and the social garden for growing crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and chilli in the summer and winter crops during the cold part of the year. It is also a space that is used for seedlings in spring. 


Job creation at Botildenborg urban farm

At the market garden, people are involved in work training in groups of 5-10 people at any time. This is part of a program run by Botildenborg and aims at getting unemployed people back into the job market. They are overseen by an employee from Botildenborg who coordinates the work. Additionally, 2 to 4 farm interns are on site from March until November and work full-time. The interns and the work practice can work across all the spaces.