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Allotment garden congress in Dresden
The Study: "allotment gardens are changing" proves that allotments are in greater demand than ever

Sandra von Rekowski, Bundesverband Deutscher Gartenfreunde

beeFür Städte und Gemeinden sind Kleingartenanlagen ein echter Zugewinn und werden immer beliebter. Diese Erkenntnisse unterstreichen die am 2. Mai 2019 vom Bundesinstitut für Bau-, Stadt- und Raumforschung (BBSR) in Teilen veröffentlichten Ergebnisse der Studie „Kleingärten im Wandel“. Diese Studie wurde auf dem BDG-Verbandstag am 7. September 2019 in Dresden offiziell vorgestellt.

Kleingärten, als unverzichtbarer Bestandteil der grünen Infrastruktur in Deutschland, entfalten für ihre Umgebung eine große positive Wirkung und bieten die Möglichkeit sinnvoller Freizeitbeschäftigung in der Natur. Inmitten stark verdichteter Räume sorgen sie für mehr Grün in unseren Städten.

Die Studienergebnisse belegen, dass vor allem in prosperierenden Ballungszentren Kleingärten so nachgefragt sind, dass teilweise Wartezeiten von mehreren Jahren bestehen. In Deutschland gibt es knapp eine Million Kleingärten, in denen geschätzt fünf Millionen Menschen gärtnern. Dieser Bestand muss dort,  wo Mehrbedarf besteht, durch Neuanlage aber auch Modernisierung und Nachverdichtung erweitert werden. In dünner besiedelten Regionen mit Bevölkerungsrückgang stehen die Kleingärtnervereine oftmals vor dem gegenteiligen Problem. Die bedarfsgerechte Weiterentwicklung von Kleingartenflächen muss daher beiden Herausforderungen aktiv begegnen. Es werden einerseits Strukturanpassungen gefordert, um dem Nachfragedruck in Städten gerecht werden zu können, auf der anderen Seite sind Lösungen für die Folgen des demografischen Wandels in strukturschwachen Regionen notwendig. 

Mit Blick auf neue Zielgruppen und damit auf neue Herausforderungen, stellt die Studie fest, dass in vielen Vereinen bereits heute mit innovativen Denkansätzen agiert wird. Modernisierung und Wandel auf der Grundlage des BKleingG werden deshalb von vielen Vereinen als Chance für eine stabile zukünftige Entwicklung betrachtet. Durch offenere Gestaltung der Anlagen werden ökologisch wertvolle Verbindungen mit dem städtischen Freiraumsystem sowie Orte der Naherholung und Entschleunigung auch für Anwohner ohne eigene Parzelle geschaffen. Kleingärten sind zudem wichtige Begegnungsräume für unterschiedliche Kulturen, soziale Milieus und Generationen. Kleingärtner unterstützen aktiv Umweltbildung und bleiben dabei nicht nur unter sich. Auch Nachbarn, Kinder und Jugendliche angrenzender Betreuungs- und Bildungseinrichtungen profitieren vom Wissen und Engagement der Kleingärtner. Letztendlich unterstützen Kleingärten urbane Räume als wichtige Refugien für seltene Pflanzen- und Tierarten.

Um die Entwicklung des Kleingartenwesens als wichtige grüne Infrastruktur nachhaltig und bedarfsgerecht zu fördern, setzt sich der BDG dafür ein, dass das Kleingartenwesen explizit Berücksichtigung in Infrastruktur- und Förderprogrammen findet. Dabei müssen alle zuständigen Akteure gemeinsam agieren: Verbände der Kleingärtner, Grünflächenämter, Stadtplanung und Politik müssen Strategien und Konzepte entwickeln und gemeinsam zur Diskussion stellen.

Und dies ist nicht nur eine zwingend notwendige Aufgabe für den BDG in Deutschland, sondern europaweit für alle Verbände.

IN GRAZ ON AUGUST 22ND 2019 ALLOTMENT GARDENERS WERE HONOURED FOR THEIR COMMITMENT

7 ALLOTMENT SITES RECEIVED AN OFFICE DIPLOMA

I) The diploma for ecological gardening was awarded to:

 

The allotment association “KGV Steinfeld” received the diploma for ecological gardening

This allotment site was founded in 1914.

The site has a surface of 34.150 m2 and the association has 243 members. This garden is characterised by a lush vegetable cultivation. Here, gardening in the original sense is still highly valued.

So it is just natural, that every gardener grows his own compost.

But also, by the setting up of three to four rain barrels on each plot and the associated water saving, resources are handled very carefully.

Of course, all of the paths of this site are not paved, but only gravelled.

It is a green, ecological oasis in one of the most heavily built-up areas of Graz.

Steinfeld1Steinfeld2Steinfeld3

 

The garden park “De Smallen Entrée” in Torhout (B)

This young project arises in 2014 where the city council was looking for a new spot for a new allotment because of the long waiting list on their first project.

This old orchard, nearby the city centre having an ideal soil, was the ideal spot. Their first condition was to create an ecological allotment.

The trees from the old orchard, that were still alive, were saved.

A long-term plan was made for all green areas separately e.g. trees, floral borders, the ditch, etc. and the annual jobs to make them richer in biodiversity.

A garden was sacrificed for a mutual green area with bee-friendly plants and host plants for wild animals. With the pruning of the trees a dead hedge was made.

A demo-garden was created.

Every 3 year they do a soil analysis to prevent over-fertilizing.  

De-Smallen-Entree3De-Smallen-Entree1De-Smallen-Entree2

 

The natural garden park of “Nooit Gedacht” in The Hague (NL)

In August 2013 “Nooit Gedacht” has won the National Quality Mark for Natural Gardening with three dots. The fourth dot has been added in October 2018.

On the property are many flowers and plants that are attractive to birds and insects. There is an insect hotel, a bee garden, a butterfly garden as well as a forest path, a herb garden and a flower meadow.

There are three beekeepers on the bee garden and a biological beekeeper with two beehives.

The Natural Gardening committee is closely involved in the weekly general maintenance of the garden park.  

Communication about natural gardening takes place via the website, the club magazine, the digital newsletter and Facebook.

A project has been started with a primary school for various workshops with the youth concerning the subject nature.

There are also school gardens where weekly children from an after-school   come for gardening. The association receives children from a school and after-school care to teach them about nature, bees, plants and flowers and gardening.

Nooit-Gedacht1Nooit-GedachtNooit-Gedacht3

 

The garden park “Nut en Genoegen” in Amsterdam (NL)

Garden Park “Nut en Genoegen” started with natural gardening at the end of 2015 with an analysis of the existing soil and water qualities, and the existing vegetation. They then made plans with an eye for an attractive image. The result is the creation of a series of different natural areas: Marsh and Bird Groves, Pond gardens, a Lupine bank and a Butterfly garden.  

In addition, the following teams are active for nature & education, a selling shop, a nursery garden, the water quality and birds nesting.

At the end of 2017 99% of the members voted during the General Assembly to follow the course set.

Via social media, a renewed website, e-mailings and flyers “Nut en Genoegen” involves interested parties “from the outside”.

The garden park is part of the Amsterdam ecological network.

At the entrances of the site there are maps and walking routes and there are information boards on the park about, facilities, plants and animals. There are benches on nice places and there are natural play areas for children.

Nut-en-Genoegen1Nut-en-GenoegenNut-en-Genoegen3

 

The allotment association “De Pioniers” in Utrecht (NL)
 
In 1935, the allotment association “De Pioniers” was established to grow potatoes, vegetables and fruit. The garden park in Utrecht now has a social, recreational and ecological function.

Because of the large variety of vegetation, water and the way of gardening, nature is strikingly diverse. The park is part of the ecological network of Utrecht. Nature observations have been kept since 1997.

In 2015, the garden park was awarded the National Quality Mark for Natural Gardening with 3 dots.  In 2018 a reassessment took place and 4 dots were awarded.

By offering lectures and workshops by all kinds of nature and environmental organisations, more and more gardeners are switching to natural gardening. At this moment, about 70% of the members practice natural gardening.

“De Pioniers” realises that they have a role as partners in the society. So they make their club building available to neighbourhood activities.

The association has an annual program with various activities; some of them are inspired by national campaigns in the field of nature conservation by volunteers.

All these results in a peaceful place in the neighbourhood can no longer be ignored. A garden park with added value and that is loved by the members and by the people living around it.  

Pioniers2PioniersPioniers

 

II) The diploma for innovative projects was awarded to:

 

The allotment site “KGV Schönau” received the diploma for innovative activities

The allotment site “Schönau”, founded in 1915, at 104 years old is one of the oldest in Graz.

With 520 members and 134.672 m2, this site is and always was the largest allotment site in Styria.

By constant improvements of the infrastructure, but also by changes of the Graz allotment garden regulation, the self-catering gardens, which at the time served to feed the population, became today’s leisure paradise for many people in Graz.

It is particularly worth mentioning that already in 1989, in an ecologically far-sighted way, a club-owned apiary was built.

At present there are 4 beehives with approx. 800,000 bees on the site. These are professionally cared for by a beekeeper, and the harvested honey can be bought cheaply from the association by the members.

Schoenau1 Schoenau2

 

The allotment association Herttoniemi (SF)

The Herttoniemi Allotment Garden Association, founded in 1934, manages a 7.5 ha area with 182 plots, all equipped with a small cottage.

The association made the project “Give the Flowers and Plants a New Life”

This project is a good example of how an allotment garden association can also enrich the environment outside the area it manages. By hard work and with plant donations, the allotment gardeners have improved the habitat of the more than 100 elderly living in a service home.

The social instructor of the service house actively searched for partners, who could help in the vast and wild garden area of the facility.  

After discussions and a visit to the facility, the allotment gardeners stated that the desolated garden needs soil, watering, new plants and a big amount of work. It was agreed to first renovate the largest planting area in the yard. It is a visible ensemble and the inhabitants are often seated beside it.

The project will continue in the spring of 2019, with the intention of renovating smaller planting areas and adding compact cultivation of herbs to the garden.

Herttoniemi1Herttoniemi2Herttoniemi3

The city of Graz received the "Golden Rose" of the International Office du Coin de Terre et des Jardins Familiaux

Goldene Rose 1The City of Graz has been supporting and promoting the allotment garden movement for many decades. Out of 30 allotment sites in Graz, 25 are located on properties of the city of Graz. With the exception of one, all are covered by unlimited general lease agreements.

Goldene Rose 2The lease is very moderate with € 0.41 per m². Through the creation of a new allotment garden regulation in 2010, the possibility of making gardens more modern laid the foundation stone for addressing predominantly young garden leaseholders. The city councillor responsible for allotment gardens, Dr. Günther Riegler, but also the mayor, Mr. Siegfried Nagl, always have an open ear when it comes to the problems of allotment gardeners.

We also have full support in all matters by the Graz allotment garden commission.

These are the local councillors: Ingrid Heuberger, Daniela Gmeinbauer and Claudia Schönbacher.

Maize, man and history

Text Simone Collet,

Even before wheat and rice, maize is proudly at the top of the podium in the leading trio of cereals grown around the world.

This first place is hardly surprising: not only do the nutritional virtues of maize for men not need to be are demonstrated, but it is also widely used as food for animals, in the food sector as well as in the production of biogas and green fuel.

A long history

popOriginally from Mexico, its culture dates back to the beginnings of time.

9000 years ago native American farmers began to develop a local grass adapted to the humid tropical climate, called teosinte. The grains were harvested, crushed and ground to make a popular flour which was very appreciated.

Obtained from teosinte through patient selections combined with favourable genetic mutations, maize was the food basis of all pre-Colombian civilisations that succeeded each other in South America. Some even considered corn as a child of the gods.

Applying the rules of sustainable development before our modern times, the farmers used a method of organic cultivation by cultivating a trio of complementary plants together called "the three sisters": i.e. maize, squash and climbing beans.

With the return of Christophe Colombus, maize was introduced in Southern Europe under the name of wheat from India (name which was kept in Canada). In other parts it is called Barbarie wheat or wheat from Turkey, because of doubts concerning its origin during its propagation on the old continent.

In the first half of the 20th century hybrids and then transgenic seeds were created, making maize the symbol of intensive agriculture, the latter being subject to intense controversy. In addition, the progress in genetics allowed the development of early varieties and other varieties adapted to less warm climates, making it possible to quadruple the yields in the second half of the century.

Corn today

pop2Named "Zea mays" in botanical science, maize belongs to the family of poaceae (or grasses). Either the whole plant is harvested or only the extremely starchy grains.

Maize grows rapidly and its yield is better than wheat. Due to its tropical origin an especial photosynthesis allows it to perfectly enhance the light and heat as do for example sorgho and sugar cane.

The cultivation of corn is now universal as it is cultivated in a 150 countries spread over the five continents. Depending on the varieties and the geographic location this robust cereal can indeed easily grow from 0 meters (sea level) to 3000 meter altitude.

Economic advantages

The main exporting countries are the United States, Argentina, Brazil, the Ukraine and France. Together they represent more than 80% of the world export. Nearly 2/3 of the production is for animal food, especially in industrialised countries.

Consumption

In terms of consumption the United States comes again in the lead, followed by China, the European Union, Brazil and Mexico.

Maize satisfies gourmets from all countries with the infinite palette of its preparations: in fresh and crunchy grains, in the form of grilled ears, as popcorn, cornflakes, maize (starch)…..As well as in the "farina bona" and "polenta" two specialities of Ticino, the southernmost canton of Switzerland with a climate particularly favourable to its cultivation.

 

Good receipt:
Polenta bramata from Ticino

• Boil 1,1 litre of vegetable broth with a little salt added (or a mixture of half water and half milk).
• Pour in rain 220 g bramata corn (corn grains)
• Reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly with a large wooden spoon
• Reduce the heat a bit and let simmer for half an hour stirring occasionally
• Add a nut of butter and 50 g grated parmesan cheese
• Add some pepper, mix and serve with a salad

Text Simone Collet
Picture Pixabay

Wheat and bread

Text Simone Collet,

Wheat and bread Wheat has been feeding mankind since the beginning of times. Let's take a look at their common history.

Since the beginning of agriculture, wheat and cereals have been an essential food for people. On all continents, civilisations developed on the basis of one main cereal: Rice in Asia, Sorgho or millet in Africa, corn in South America, wheat in Europe.

Let's talk about wheat...

wheatIn the Middle East the first growers selected and developed wild grasses from a humble plant called "jointed goat".

Time passing, they managed with many efforts and patience to create the final grain, in other words the small spelt, then the emmer, and finally the big spelt. Wheat followed in countless prime varieties, adapted to the climate and the soil of the different producing regions.

After the end of the ice age wheat could be grown in Europe on lands liberated from their ice cover. For centuries, it was mostly grounded and eaten in the form of porridge, the basic food of the agricultural population.

In Switzerland during the Second World War a dozen standardised varieties that were particularly satisfying, thanks to their high gluten content, replaced the hundreds of local wheat varieties having resulted from crosses between the original cereals.

Intended primarily to satisfy the needs of the population during times of scarcity, these more profitable varieties are still widely cultivated today.

"Do not eat your wheat while it is too young", otherwise no yield will grow advises an old farmer wisdom. This warning full of common sense has kept its relevance...

The return of old varieties

However, the old varieties have not disappeared. On the contrary, one rediscovers them on the front of the stage surfing on the wave of the return to a necessary biodiversity.
Can be mentioned the black starch (already grown 7000 years ago) and the gruyere red wheat, whose yield gives a straw of the most colourful effect to weave pretty coloured hats. Also should be mentioned among the local varieties the local wheat named "baffles" and "vaulion"…

Among the family of bread grains, let us not forget the Valais rye giving this dark bread which is so tasty and whose reputation is well established; a real feast with an alpine cheese and a nice glass of cold fondant wine.

Naked or coated

Among the wheats, we distinguish the blond ears with naked corn of the durum wheat, the tender wheat and the wheat. The ears of the old varieties have their grains crimped in their husks to be peeled before use. Not very practical or rational certainly, but the reward for a relatively modest effort lies in the greater wealth of these grains in magnesium, zinc, iron, lysine, copper, proteins… All these elements give a special flavour and contribute to our health.

Let's talk bread…

breadIf in our time good fresh and crispy bread does no longer necessarily accompany all our dishes, it is far from disappearing from our tables. It is the companion per excellence of cheese. And one can find an infinitive range of breads in the form of slices of bread and sandwiches, that richly and healthy garnished, are often a real meal.

Buckwheat is the exception

Like wheat, buckwheat is commonly used for making pancakes. This plant does, however, not range within the wheat family. Because, contrary to its appearance, buckwheat is not a real cereal. It is a plant of the Polygoacées family, just like its delicious sister rhubarb.

What does this matter to gourmets! What counts in their eyes as in their pallet is the lightness of these so fine pancakes, whose glutenfree flavour is perfectly digestible.

Text Simone Collet
Picture Pixabay

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