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Shining example of species protection

3 March was "World Wildlife Day" (UN World Wildlife Day). This was introduced in 1973 as part of the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This agreement protects endangered wild species (animals and plants).
CITES primarily protects endangered species from trade and regulates their keeping and breeding. However, the intention of protecting endangered animals and plants from extinction can also be supported on a small scale in your own garden.

Contribution of the allotment gardeners

Some wild animals seek refuge in allotment gardens because they are driven out of their traditional habitats by agriculture and building activities.
By creating diverse habitats, we as allotment garden families can protect these displaced species and contribute to the preservation of biodiversity.
We leave leaves and brushwood piles for hedgehogs. Native shrubs and natural hedges are important retreats and food sources for birds and should be used instead of thujas and cherry laurel. Fortunately, these and other nature-orientated recommendations are already frequently implemented.
In this article, we want to focus on a small insect that is an endangered species. Allotment gardeners can contribute to its conservation by providing a variety of habitats and by gardening in a natural way.

Shining example

Exactly! Fireflies are a rare but all the more popular guest in your own garden.
In the case of the "small fireflies" (common firefly), the flying male puts on a light show in summer. If, on the other hand, you discover a fixed light shining on the ground, this is the female of the "large firefly" trying to attract a mate.
Fireflies are not only beautiful to look at in the garden, they are also important beneficial insects. The larvae prefer to eat slugs and snails, which they kill with their venomous bites.

The example of the firefly shows how important the diversity of habitats in the garden is.
Their original habitat is forest edges, bushes, damp meadows and gardens. In the course of its perennial development, the firefly needs different habitats.
These include warm sunny and moist shady spots, shrubs for a better view when searching for a mate, as well as piles of branches and dry stone walls for shelter. A flower or herb meadow would be ideal for the fireflies. But at least in one part of the garden, you should provide a wild corner.
Females are particularly well attracted by the heat generated by piles of cuttings left lying around. However, you should never try to "relocate" fireflies from their home territory yourself.
The greatest danger to the firefly is the use of slug pellets and other synthetic pesticides. Mineral fertilisers should also be replaced with compost and organic fertilisers. Light pollution is also an ever-increasing danger for the luminous beneficial insects. The larvae become less active due to light and their successful search for mates is severely disrupted. Artificial lighting should therefore be minimised as far as possible. Necessary light sources should only shine directly onto the ground. Motion detectors can be used to reduce the duration of lighting.

Supporting natural species diversity
Even if we have limited ourselves to the firefly today, many endangered species naturally benefit from the diversity of habitats in your own garden. For example, herb snails with dry stone walls are an ideal retreat for lizard species and a sandarium is the ideal nesting place for endangered wild bees.


Not only animals but also plants are protected by the species protection agreement. In the interests of biodiversity, allotment gardeners can contribute to the continued existence of rare species through the diversity of varieties of herbs, fruit, vegetables and other plants. Swap your "treasures" with your neighbours or visit one of the rarities exchanges to achieve this diversity. In this way, species beyond the mass assortment from the DIY and garden centres are preserved and in turn provide animals with food and alternative habitats.

The UN World Wildlife Day is not just a declaration of intent by the United Nations. We allotment gardeners can support endangered wild species by gardening close to nature and providing a diverse range of habitats in our own "little green space".

We recommend the "VERSATILE GREEN SPACES" guidelines from the SYM:BIO project as support for implementation.

Words at the end of 2023

Dear allotment gardeners!

I have the great honour of addressing you for the first time in my function as Secretary General at the end of the year.
After our dear Malou Weirich stepped down in the middle of the year after more than three decades in this position, I was appointed new Secretary General by the General Assembly of the International Federation. A task that fills me with a great deal of pride, but also with a great deal of awe and respect, as the shoes I have to fill are truly big.
Nevertheless, I am very much looking forward to taking up this challenge for the benefit of the international allotment garden family.

We allotment gardeners have always played an important role in the cities, even if this has been forgotten at times. In times of war and after the war, we were the guarantors for the supply of the population and allotment plots could be found everywhere in the cities. After the great hardship of the wars had been overcome, the allotment gardens also changed and over the decades became more recreational and leisure gardens in many countries. But this form is also changing more and more.

Today our allotment gardens are so much more and cannot be pigeonholed:
They are refuges for many different species of animals and plants that would have a much harder time without allotments in the cities.
They are the green lungs of cities, and their very existence helps to reduce urban warming.
They are classrooms that bring our children closer to nature.
They are supermarkets where the best and healthiest fruit and vegetables can be grown.
They are fitness centres and life counsellors in one.
They are places of recreation for the entire urban population.
They are places where people meet.

Our allotment gardens are all this and much more and we must not forget this.

Allotment gardens provide a habitat for a large number of animals and plants because we allotment gardeners make sure that our gardens are managed in an environmentally friendly, pesticide-free and sustainable way. On the one hand, of course, for ourselves, but also for the generations after us in order to leave them an environment worth living in. It is no coincidence that the biodiversity in allotment gardens is far higher than in other publicly accessible areas of cities. We have been cultivating our allotment gardens for over 100 years and therefore have expertise in how to manage our gardens in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.

By giving a variety of plants space to grow in our gardens, the allotment gardens contribute to a better climate in the cities. Especially in times of climate change and global warming, the contribution we allotment gardeners can make here is irreplaceable. This is one of the most valid arguments to prevent allotment gardens from being pushed out of the cities to the periphery. Because it is precisely in the cities, where greenery is often not so easy to find, that our allotment gardens can make their contribution against the warming of the cities.

Our allotment gardens give us the opportunity to grow our own fruit and vegetables and to pass this knowledge on to our children. Knowing exactly where the harvested produce comes from and what it has been treated with is a value that is almost priceless. Along with the harvest, we also know how to preserve this food, which is often referred to as "ancient" knowledge. But even in times of crisis, allotment garden yields can bring relief in difficult situations.
Not to mention the health benefits of allotment gardening. Exercise in itself is already healthy and doing this in the fresh air increases this value enormously. Numerous studies have shown that gardening not only has a positive effect on physical health, but also on mental health.
In the allotment garden, this effect is multiplied by the environment that the allotment garden association offers.
Because we must not forget one thing:
The allotment garden associations are part of a profoundly social movement. People meet in the association, come together to chat, exchange experiences and also to help each other. What many people lack in the anonymity of the big city can be found in allotment gardens. A neighbourhood where people take care of each other, where they help and support each other, a place to meet and live together.
We must not lose sight of this fact, even in times like these, when buzzwords such as climate change, global warming, but also price rises and inflation are spreading terror everywhere.

Co-operation is also one of the many positive aspects of the meetings of the international allotment gardeners within the framework of the International Federation. The international meetings are characterised by a positive drive to work together to advance the allotment garden movement.
As different as our allotment gardens may be in the various countries, we all work hard to make our allotment garden movement visible on a national and international level and to make its value obvious to non-allotment gardeners.
Together we can achieve so much more for our allotment garden family than alone.

In the spirit of this reflection on what we have in common, I wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and all the best and health for the New Year 2024.

Sylvia Wohatschek
Secretary General, Fédération Internationale des Jardins Familiaux

Call from NGO members of the Environmental and Health Crisis Committee From the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe

Please find attached the resolution adopted by the NGOs involved in the Environmental and Health Crisis Committee of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe as a contribution to the Summit currently taking place in Dubai (UAE).

Call from NGO members of the Environmental and Health Crisis Committee
From the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe
in the run-up to COP 28
to be held in Dubai from 30 Novembre to 12 Decembre 2023

For urgent, local and systemic action

COP28 will take stock of the implementation of the Paris Agreement, halfway through the 2030 Agenda, at a time when global temperatures and greenhouse gas emissions are breaking records. Natural disasters caused by extreme weather events are worsening, combined with the threat of ice cap collapse and melting permafrost, releasing methane and pathogens. They increase the loss of natural resources due to reduced biodiversity, air and water pollution, and slow degradation of soil and subsoil.

Now alarmed  by the low commitment of States Parties confirmed  by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Emissions Gap Report  of 20 November 2023, which raises fears of a temperature increase of 2.5 to 2.9°C, well beyond the 1.5°C limit set by the Paris Agreement,
The NGOs that are members of the Environmental and Health Crisis Committee call for urgent local and systemic action based on 4 priorities :


1. Think globally and act locally, in a transversal way, with a strong mobilisation of civil society

Currently, cities account for 80% of the world's wealth. They will be home to nearly 70% of the population by 2050, making urbanisation a historic challenge. They are now responsible for the consumption of two-thirds of the world's energy, and 70% of annual global emissions. It is therefore in the cities and regions that the challenge is being played, and that it must be won.

The vast majority of local and regional authorities are calling for decisive action to protect people and their living environment. All are ready to play their part in containing the immediate effects of climate change in the short term, and in the medium and long term in favour of responsible development. All agree that they are the protagonists of the actions and policies undertaken and planned at the global level. The role of local government is essential because it is the layer of government closest to the people, who often have significant decision-making and spending power. All must act in conjunction with civil society.


2. Promoting systemic action and synergy between prevention and adaptation

Sustainable Development Goals 11 and 13 recommend accelerating the energy transition and reducing emissions before 2030 through an approach that "embraces nature, people, lives and livelihoods at the heart of climate action".

Our NGOs call for adoption of

regional and local risk prevention plans that develop a synergy between mitigation and adaptation, in conjunction with the population to strengthen the resilience of territories;

- a systematic component of adaptation to the most pessimistic forecasts, in development and urban plans, prevention  plans against natural, industrial and health risks, construction and housing renovation projects, safeguarding agriculture combined with the protection of biodiversity;

- a permanent focus on climate issues in education and training to build a citizen climate culture and develop the skills necessary for the climate transition.

- a portal to pilot measures, which brings together all the relevant services and operators, to make it the one-stop shop for a public and individual adaptation service;

- a statistical tool for monitoring sectors such as industry and tourism, in order to build prospective analyses, an effective adaptation, and safeguarding strategy.

3. Basing the transition on sobriety and the implementation of a circular economy

The economic and financial difficulties of most states call for the production of wealth generated  by limiting energy waste, but also by a circular economy that rejects social and environmental dumping and that mobilises the entire population.

Our NGOs call for

- greater involvement of fundamental and applied research on sobriety, systematic dissemination and popularisation of the work and good practices carried out, with the use of qualified professionals to guide the transition in a transversal way;

- choices and policies, designed with the active participation of users to support an effective circular and social economy, promoting new forms of employment and development;

- coordinated and integrated cross-cutting actions at all levels of territorial administration, bringing together the public and private sectors, policy makers and citizens.


4. Promoting a health-centered paradigm shift

Our NGOs welcome COP28's dedicated day to health and call for adopting

- coherent legal tools able of promoting resilience through joint action at all levels of governance, in all sectors of human and environmental health impacted by climate change, in accordance with the "One Health" principle,

- anticipation of the health risk based on the most pessimistic forecasts for the sick and persons with disabilities, young children and the older persons who suffer more intensely from heat waves, energy poverty and increased air pollution. Its systematic inclusion on the agenda of all the organs of the health ecosystem.

- support for the design of inclusive cities based on strengthening families to respond to health risks (cf. Venice Declaration Global Alliance)

Every moment gained is crucial. Concrete actions and agreements are needed at the global level, but they can only be effective at the local level, with the support of civil society, according to the principle of subsidiarity.

This is our call to the negotiators and the Heads of State and Government meeting in Dubai.

Committee on Environmental and Health crisis : Governance and solidarity challenges
Environmental and Health Crisis Committee: Governance and Solidarity Issues

International Volunteer Day (IVD) 5th December 2023

‘VOLUNTEERING WEEK’ UK  1st – 7th July 2023

What are these events all about? They are held every year in recognition of all the contribution that volunteers do in all areas of the community to improve people’s life, and to say a big thank you to the volunteers.

The International Volunteer Day was designated by the United Nations in 1985 as an international observance day to celebrate the power and potential of volunteering. The UK’s Volunteer Week in 2023 is in its 39th year and generally has themes e.g. awareness of volunteering, the power of youth and its influence in the voluntary sector.

People from all walks of life in the UK volunteer on all levels to improve and help communities in many different ways. This volunteering is invaluable as many would go without and life would be a lot more difficult for many others if volunteer assistance was not available.

Volunteering not only helps others but also can be beneficial to the volunteer’s wellbeing also. It is human nature to feel good after helping someone out. New skills can be learnt by the volunteers and improvements in their confidence also.

It is quoted that over 16 million people in the UK did some form of volunteering in 2020/2021 and that most people have volunteered in one form or another at some point in their lives.

In the UK also there are many small charitable organisations and groups that operate in the voluntary sector, the majority of personnel in these organisations are volunteers. There is even an organisation, The National Council of Voluntary Organisation that looks after the interests of many of these smaller groups giving guidance on their operation.

These smaller organisations however operate in many areas of the community such as care for the vulnerable, help for those struggling to cope with or unable to afford civil and legal advice. Groups that help the elderly with transport and meals and other groups helping those less fortunate than ourselves, who have fallen on hard times and are living rough.

There are many volunteers operating in even larger organisations such as the National Health Service and some larger companies operate volunteer days making community improvements as part of their community involvement.

There are groups improving our environment such as the community ‘In Bloom’ groups striving to improve the aesthetics of the local environment for the wellbeing of the community. The list is endless.

The UK’s very own National Allotment Society is mainly operated by volunteers with the vast majority of members being volunteers in one form or another. Many allotment sites in the UK are also managed, maintained, and improved by volunteers, protecting, and improving the nations allotment stock for the benefit of future generations. Not only that they are improving the environment, providing fresh locally produced food, benefitting Climate Change, improving Biodiversity, well-being of many in the community and the list goes on.

It all boils down to that instinct and desire to help others and a will to improve what we already have.

Well done to all volunteers your work is invaluable and very much appreciated.

Our garden areas must become gems in urban greening

Otmar Halfmann, VP SFGV | FSJF

The following considerations for the direction of our family garden movement are based on direct experience and impressions in the Swiss environment. The extent to which these are transferable in whole or in part to other European countries must be assessed there.

For the members and functionaries of our Swiss association landscape, it is also painfully noticeable that there is no national legislation on which our allotment gardens can base themselves, but rather, with the exception of the Canton of Basel-Stadt, which has a constitutional anchoring of the "Besitzstand" surface, only various official regulations or also ... as in the case of the area where my wife and I cultivate our plot ... none.
This inevitably makes the exchange of experience between our officials more difficult, because in order to deal with a subject at the national level, one always has to know and keep an eye on the local peculiarities.
Developing or formulating generally valid, concrete goals under these conditions is much more difficult than where the legal framework is in place nationally.
But that is not all: the extent of official intervention can also vary; in one canton, for example, the waiting lists for plots are administered by the municipal gardening department and new members are assigned to the associations by the authorities when there is a change of tenant.

It is encouraging that the interest in owning a garden plot continues unabated. After a peak in 2021 [Corona ...], the excess demand in the agglomerations still amounts to more than 20.0%.
On the other hand, we are losing more than 10.0 ha of open space every day through building or sealing for infrastructure projects, mainly in the already densely populated non-alpine regions.
In addition, the resident population [today almost 9.0 million ...] continues to grow rapidly; supplemented by a "cross-border commuter traffic" of almost half a million [with a good 5.0 million employees, this corresponds to almost 10.0 % ...] people living in France, Italy or Germany who come to work in Switzerland every day - mostly by car.
Furthermore, the legitimate renaturation of watercourses and riparian zones and the special protection of species-rich areas take up land.
And even excessive and largely commercialised recreational needs cannot do without land consumption, construction or sealing.

The starting point for finding a medium-term orientation for our family garden movement is further complicated by ecological requirements for plot management - which are of course undisputed, but differ from canton to canton. These requirements, in turn, unfortunately lead to an increase in conflicts within the associations themselves.
This increase in conflicts and the increasing technical and administrative demands on association boards are accompanied by an equally growing shortage of members who are willing to make themselves available for an honorary function.
This shortage will become even more serious in the coming years, because demographic change means that we are losing long-serving officials on a daily basis.

After these key words on the "outlook", let's move on to shaping the future:

Raise association fees
In order to be able to work on all the different "fronts", associations need resources. If these resources are not available in the association due to a lack of suitable or professionally qualified people, service providers or craftsmen have to be commissioned.
If the association lacks the resources for this, it finds itself in a spiral towards implosion, which in some cases stretches over a period of infirmity.
Having sufficient regular income is the sine qua non for coping with various - existential - demands.

Relieving the burden on volunteers and strengthening the association's self-administration
Especially for large associations with hundreds of tenants spread over several areas, taking on a board function can often take up a full workload, all the more so as breaches of rules, arbitration between tenants, enforcement of official or regulatory requirements and legal disputes increase.
To prevent more and more committed members from giving up in disappointment after a short period on the board, these tasks must either be compensated accordingly [provided that members have the necessary time and professional qualifications ...] or, better still, outsourced entirely from the association to third parties. This externalises "minefields" for conflicts and thus protects cohesion.
At the same time, the board has more time for gardening or building issues.

Participation in spatial planning
If the leases between the association and the landowner are not secured in the long term, or if there are foreseeable developments, proactive committee work at the community level is indispensable.
This is the only way to protect the association from surprises, the members from disappointment and to avoid bad investments on a collective and individual level.
If the destruction of an area is recognised at an early stage, it is much easier to start negotiations on replacement areas than if there is no more time available.
If the voters in a municipality* have already repeatedly approved a development that would wipe out the garden area, then it is already years too late for a protest in the media and any sympathy for those affected is no longer helpful at this point.
In a Swiss agglomeration, for example, our board member responsible there estimates that about 1/3 of the current sites are threatened. In such a situation, the board members must be able to concentrate on solutions as a matter of priority and with all available capacity.
*With "direct democracy", the power to decide on changes to communal zoning plans lies with the voters.

Cultivate alliance partnerships
Last year's important vote in four municipalities in the Zurich agglomeration on a zoning change for a local recreation area, which also affected a garden area there, shows how much we depend on alliances.
After a referendum was held there, which was initiated by renowned nature conservation organisations and locally respected people, primarily because of the biodiversity in the affected zone, nevertheless only a wafer-thin majority voted for the preservation of this "green lung".
If this partnership had not existed, the association would have been hopelessly overwhelmed. For the preservation of the garden plots alone, there would never have been even a referendum.
Even if these are unpleasant-sounding statements, they correspond to reality ... unfortunately.
In another large city, the voters have just decided in favour of two new buildings at the expense of two garden plots. Where housing is scarce and expensive, every project that could mitigate this is accepted.
Where it is promising to take legal action against projects, this will only be possible with the help of partners from the numerous nature conservation organisations.

Absorbing nature conservation projects and social initiatives
We are already doing a lot in species protection, but a lot is not enough: efforts to create and maintain ecological niches in the areas must be multiplied.
Media-communicative orientation is also of growing importance; not only the information itself, but also its continuous updating.
At which site is there already a poster, for example: "At our last hedgehog count in May, 34 hedgehogs were sighted, since we can assume a factor of 5 for the actual population, there are 180 hedgehogs on this site, which means 2 hedgehogs per plot and tenant"?
Wherever biodiversity [... also in plants] or its conservation is discussed in the neighbourhood or community environment - also in schools - we must be spontaneously present in the awareness of the population as a possible contact and possible partner.
This openness is also important towards social initiatives. At the moment, the integration efforts of refugees are in the foreground, but the spectrum is very broad and also dependent on local circumstances [is there, for example, a children's ridge around the corner that is currently looking for an area for "garden children"?]

Opening up and opening through, ... where necessary.
The area where I garden consists of two zones, with a road running between them. This road is also the connecting path to the local forest and a recreational area for countless walkers.
If this road did not exist, a thoroughfare would be indispensable for our area: the shortest connection between two points is and remains a line. We do not generate public sympathy if fellow citizens have to walk, for example, 800 m around a garden area until they reach the sports field, the cemetery or the multi-purpose hall.
Of course, thoroughfares have consequences, especially when they affect areas that have existed for decades: Fencing, litter, vandalism and security are all challenges. Finding a solution to this with the authorities is the constructive way to categorically reject it, which is counterproductive. For the preservation or possible expansion of our areas, the passive or better still active support of the population and our direct neighbours is indispensable.
The same applies to openings. In connection with a new development project, the city gardening department, which is involved in the planning, will implement an open "garden landscape". There will be garden islands in this zone. This will create an open, green zone that meets the local recreational needs of the residents. Analogous to the thoroughfare, such openings result in previously unknown problems not only for the associations but also for the municipality, which must be met with new solutions, because not everything new can or must always function immediately and by itself. Adaptations to new necessities are inevitably the result.
Insisting on the tradition of "gated communities" as customary law is futile and only generates resistance from the community.

Consistent deconstruction when plots are abandoned
If we want to credibly oppose building development, we must first show that we keep building and sealing to a minimum in our areas, i.e. that we often reduce it.
Currently, in the public and media perception - and that alone is decisive - more and more garden houses are being transformed into holiday homes.
It is disheartening that large stand-alone garden centres are now imposing requirements for deconstruction when tenants change: the associations probably lost the initiative here decades ago; it is imperative that we win it back.
Above all, this return to structural moderation is necessary with a view to avoiding conflicts between the association and members who are over-committed to construction: Conflicts do not end up in court because of a belatedly removed "thistle", but almost exclusively as a result of violations of building regulations and the like.

Subdivision of large plots before reallocation
In view of the continuing surplus demand and the younger, following generation, which is increasingly being challenged professionally, old garden houses should be demolished and large plots subdivided - if the initial conditions for this are available.
The new plots thus reduced in size should preferably only be leased with club-owned or precisely specified tool sheds.

Develop and implement design and maintenance concepts
Unfortunately, I know of no association that has a long-term design concept. This requirement is becoming more and more important as native woody plants and "eco-niches", among other things, gain in importance for species conservation.
Such a concept must also do justice to the increasing changes of tenants. With the departure of the "baby boomer" generation, tenancies of the past that lasted for decades are disappearing [unfortunately ...].

Similarly, in many places the maintenance of community facilities and buildings is reactive. I am not aware of any proactive maintenance concepts. The longer our areas exist, the more the "ravages of time" wear away at buildings, fences, paths or even hedges.
All these objects and their condition have an effect on the appearance.

Ensure prioritisation of common areas
Based on my own experience, I can state that the working time per square metre of garden area is about the same as the time I have to spend for a careful execution of "front work" outside or adjacent to our plot [again per square metre ...].
This is underestimated in the majority of the time requirements for community tasks. Again, it is not the individual well-kept plot that is representative of the garden area and the goodwill of third parties, but the overall picture.
In the first instance, we are not all tenants of a plot, but members of the association. It is only thanks to the existence of the association and the area leased by it that an individual plot can be available at all as a place of retreat in the countryside.

Enforce plot allocation criteria
Plots are only to be allocated if and to those who qualify as applicants for association membership.
Without a probationary period, this will not be able to lead to an objective result. Only after one year of "candidacy" should a permanent lease be offered.
Countless disappointments could be avoided in this way.
Unfortunately, due to the high demand and the attractiveness of oversized garden houses, the habit has spread - despite numerous sensible barriers developed by clever association boards - that the previous tenant has a decisive say in who should take over his plot [and the garden house ...] depending on the amount of the down payment.
This practice must be stopped.
Note: It is much easier for an external property management company to implement this than for a president who is faced with a plot neighbour of decades' standing, which in turn underlines how sensible it can be to opt for outsourcing of administrative tasks.

Adjustments to land use laws for the parcels
Where new areas are being created, primarily as replacements for existing areas, it is possible for associations of a manageable size to forego sub-leasehold contracts for plots and to link membership of the association with an entitlement to the horticultural use of an area to be determined. This avoids the unfortunate linkage of leasehold and association law and thus simplifies the separation of "tenants", in this case only members, who cannot be integrated into the association.
Certainly, the exploitation of such an option is only possible very slowly and presupposes special conditions, also with regard to the responsible municipal gardening department, which usually represents the landowner.

Support for new members
New members are usually left alone with a pile of documents and the advice to please ask if there is something they do not understand or would like to change.
This is obviously not enough: Especially new members with limited knowledge of the national language are thus overwhelmed. It is understandable that when it comes to gardening, they first fall back on the imprints they have experienced in their cultural area.
Even if language restrictions are removed, we have to look more closely at the introduction of "newcomers" and, wherever experienced members are available, entrust them with such supervisory tasks.
If a newcomer has bought a "Thuya emerald" from the nearest nursery and only finds out weeks later during a garden inspection that it is forbidden to plant it in Zurich, the dispute is already pre-programmed.

Demarcation criteria
In Switzerland we have thousands of "wild" gardens; in our small town alone there is one large area and at least three smaller ones.
On both sides of the motorway that passes our town there is also a so-called garden area. The image that these "gardens" convey is pitiful. Such areas, which thousands of people drive past every day, help to shape our opinions, whether we like it or not.
That these "associations" do not belong to our federation is not communicable, how could it be?
In this respect, we have to develop demarcation criteria. Standards must be defined for this and implemented step by step.
Parallel to the implementation, this must be accompanied by appropriate communication content.
Likewise, the areas themselves must refer to these standards at their interfaces to the public.
This is the only way to create recognisable features and enable differentiation among our fellow citizens.

The family garden movement and numerous associations have been active for more than a hundred years, and our association will celebrate its centenary in 2025.
With a hundred years of experience, it should be possible for us to adapt to changing framework conditions and significantly intensifying competition for land use in a success-oriented manner.

Otmar Halfmann, VP SFGV | FSJF - Hyphen no. 79

Note 1: The author feels obliged to use the generic masculine form of language and asks for your understanding that he would like to dispense with gender asterisks for reasons of age.
Note 2: This contribution is not a position paper of the SFGV | FSJF. It reflects only the personal views of the author.

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