In the continuation of the Speisewald project, initiated in 2020 to design a pilot project for a food forest in Cologne, a working group of students was created at the KISD under the wing of Prof. Heidkamp. They renamed the project Vielwald (polyforest) and joined us in our negotiations with the city to grow a diversity of useful plants on part of a dog meadow next to the school.

In April 2024, I spent a week with them at the KISD to start concrete actions on the spot, reinforcing the past work of the Food Systems AG by teaching participatory tools and forest design methods.

The first days of the workshop were dedicated to organising a communication campaign in the neighbourhood and the occupation of the space itself in order to gather support for the project. I assisted the students in designing a variety of placemaking exercises to figure out the motivation level of the neighbouring community, their mental obstacles and the plants they would like to grow here.
At the end of the week, we co-designed the polyforest with the assistance of Claire Mauquié, a food forest expert. We presented our plantation plan to the public, during a day where we set camp on the spot and tested our tools with a diversity of neighbours and local stakeholders.

After this week, the city decided to let us transform the area into a forest ecosystem as a research project, giving us the opportunity to grow a diversity of plants for food, materials and colours there that could be transformed in the school labs, sharing knowledge and harvests with the local community. The project is still ongoing.