Helen's customers turned into urban farmers
As part of our customer programme, we distributed a total of 50 grow boxes for our customers last spring. The interest exceeded our expectations.
The boxes were limited to one box per customer in the order of registration. Suitable for urban growing, the boxes were placed outside the Hanasaari power plant in the disused part of the car park. Our customers together created an urban garden at Hanasaari, and its greenery can be enjoyed by all, including the power plant staff and passers-by who often stopped to chat with the gardeners.
In the spring, on 6 May, customers interested in urban farming were invited to the Energy Gallery in Sähkötalo. At the event, the first 50 people to register were given the number of their grow pallet. The others received a grow bag suitable, for example, for balconies. Over a hundred of our customers took part in the event.
The employees of the Hanasaari power plant took care of building the pallets (120 x 80 cm) and filled them with rich soil. The planting boxes were therefore already filled with bio soil delivered by HSY, waiting for the farmers. Dodo ry provided us with valuable help in organising a functioning and safe farming project.
The farmers became good friends with an excellent spirit of community. They exchanged information in their own Facebook group and helped each other to look after the boxes, say, during holidays. Colourful photos were shared. The farmers’ progress during the summer was monitored extensively with the hashtag #hanassakasvaa.
HARVESTING AND FOOD TASTING
In autumn 24 September, we organised a harvest festival created by the Safari youth at the Energy Gallery. The customers were able to sample the tasty dishes conjured up by our wild food chef Janne Länsipuro.
Inventor and insect entrepreneur Santtu Vekkeli explained the concept of insect farming for food, researcher Maiju Ripatti of the Consumers’ Union of Finland told about the utilisation of food waste, and researcher Outi Kuittinen of Demos Helsinki gave a talk on food and the climate change.
Pinja Sipari of Dodo ry talked about urban farming in the future, and environmental expert Pirjo Jantunen of Helen gave advice on ecological urban farming.
The panel discussions where customers – the urban farmers and those interested in farming – brought the idea of urban farming forward from the viewpoint of locally sourced food and energy saving were one of the most popular parts of the event.
CUSTOMER PROGRAMME – ENJOYMENT AND BENEFIT FROM HELEN
The customer programme was developed for Helen in 2014 as an idea to bring together and develop further measures in order to provide our customers with information and everyday well-being. The programme was named Extra and it was given its own logo. The idea of the customer programme is summed up in this sentence: Good energy is made for sharing.
Customers receive benefits, services and events with added value, useful topical information about energy, its areas of use and energy saving, and feel-good messages about urban culture – with some pleasant surprises thrown in, too.
During the year, we organised a number of events at the Energy Gallery: customers learned about heating and lighting their homes as part of interior design, the ambience of home and well-being. We launched the summer cottage season with a customer event discussing energy-saving and decorating ideas for summer cottages, as well as living side by side with nature.
Our permanent free customer benefits include the online Sävel Plus programme, which monitors energy use even down to the hour level, our customer magazine published four times a year, the energy consumption, moisture and surface temperature meters available for loan, and the advisory services in the Energy Gallery.
The incredibly popular urban farming project in Hanasaari will be expanded further next year. We will increase the number of grow boxes and bring in benches for the use of the farming community and those admiring the growers’ handiwork.