It started out with tomatoes on a shed roof...
Directly translated from Danish TagTomat means Roof Tomato - and that is what it all began with. The journey of TagTomat started when Mads Boserup, the initiator and leading figure in TagTomat, went on paternity leave for his daughter in 2011. In the common backyard area of his apartment block, he placed some self watering boxes on the roof of his garage shed and sowed tomato seeds. And from that, the idea formed into a locally funded project and now stands today as a green business with several people running various projects.
An array of green projects can be seen at TagTomat. One includes decorating exhibitions with plants to give off the look of an urban garden. They host DIY-workshops for decorating your balconies, educate school children and sell starter kits for growing your own plants. Even though it might seem that this green business wants to jump in many directions, the goal and the core of TagTomat is to create green communities. They focus on growing edible as well as beautiful plants, recycling materials and connecting with their neighbours - which, according to Mads, can be done in multiple ways through the joy of plants.
Mads Boserup is a kind of Gyro Gearloose within the area of urban gardening. He always has some experiments going on in TagTomat’s green and sprouting office space. TagTomats office is very far from the average. When I met up with him on a sunny day in February, he passionately and with some routine, showed me the experiments that seemed to be scattered all over. In the main office the employees of TagTomat sat like beads on a string along the desks against the wall. In the stocking room sat old milk cartons filled with tree fibers, wood boards and many more odds and ends. In the kitchen I noticed a tiny shelf just big enough for a little bag of coffee ground and mushroom mycelium. In their little greenhouse, plants grew all over - sitting on benches, tables, the window shelf and even hanging from the ceiling.
At the moment, growing your own edible oyster mushrooms is trending - at least in Copenhagen. TagTomat experiments by growing them in various organic materials such as coffee grounds, tree dust and straw and in different containers. To house them, they use used milk cartons or ice cream buckets and even in a kokedama - a Japanese ball of moss that can be hung from the ceiling.
One of TagTomat’s values is to also get their neighborhood involved. “We get the coffee grounds and empty milk cartons from Coffee Collective, and our neighbors also clean and leave their used milk cartons in this box bench,” Mads explained. (Coffee Collective is a Copenhagen coffee roaster with cafés and the bench is the one Mads is sitting on in the picture) This way, resources can be upcycled, the community spirit is strengthened, and the people feel involved.
Where to find TagTomat: You can either go to their website tagtomat.dk (it is only in Danish) or you can visit their small but cozy office/workshop at Husumgade 2 in Nørrebro, Copenhagen.
As I made my way out the door on that sunny afternoon, I felt uplifted, inspired and full of energy. Every now and then when you meet people that are passionate about their work it is almost impossible not to want to move the world in a better way.