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National Allotment Congress and Day of the Garden in Berlin

The fourth allotment congress took place in Berlin from 18-19 May, 2017.

DE1Approximately 300 delegates discussed the future challenges of the allotment movement.

A good number of prominent people attended. Among them State secretary Adler and the secretary general Malou Weirich who represented the International Office du Coin de Terre et des Jardins Familiaux.

2017 is an election year and thus a year for making political choices. The German Federation of Allotment Gardeners (BDG), an umbrella organisation under which some one million allotment gardeners are represented, is involved as well. It is campaigning for more greenbelts in urban areas and, obviously, for the preservation of allotments. The small gardens exert a positive influence on social cohesion in cities and communities. They help to perpetuate the gardening heritage and contribute to protecting and improving urban climates. They positively influence biodiversity both of nature in urban areas and cultivated plants. Allotments not only enhance the quality of life in cities and communities, they can also decisively improve the visual appearance of municipalities.

The German Allotment Federation is formulating the following requests to future politicians:

Ensure the protection of allotments as greenbelt infrastructure: Maintain the federal allotment law in its tried and tested form.
Promote the appropriate development of allotments by municipalities: Allotments must be explicitly included in urban development programs and in other future infrastructure development programs as potential targets for specific actions.
With regard to future regulations in surface area adjustments and compensation: recognize allotment sites with an increased ecological value as compensation areas. Corresponding research and pilot projects should be stimulated by national policies.

Scientific prize of the German allotment federation

DE2Peter Paschke was pleased to draw the attention to the scientific prize of the German allotment federation and to give so to speak the starting shot during this congress.

"The aim of this scientific prize is to lead towards a greater interest for scientific research concerning allotments among young scientists in the areas of urban, regional and landscape planning and to sensitize planners to the potential of allotments for green infrastructures.

The federation would like to reward ideas and innovative considerations including allotments in an exemplary way in projects concerning the safeguarding of the environment, the stabilization of social cohesion and consequently the quality of life in towns and communes. A particular concern of the federation is to reward dissertations and projects that are examples for the social and green development and contribute to a modern development of green infrastructures".

The official opening ceremony of the Day of the Garden was held on 20th May in the "Gardens of the World" of the International Horticulture Exposition (IGA).

The subject of the Day of the Garden was: "Allotments, a living green space for developing towns". As predecessors of the Urban Gardening movement the allotment gardeners with this day called attention to the necessity of green spaces in towns. A great number of the more than 14,000 allotment associations in Germany open their doors at the occasion of the Day of the Garden and enable all to discover the pleasure of these green areas. The allotments remain, especially for city dwellers, a refuge of an inestimable value: an allotment is not merely a garden, but it offers relaxation and compensation in a green space embedded in the middle of houses and streets.

After this opening ceremony, the allotment association "am Kienberg" received the Office diploma for an ecological gardening from Office President Peter Paschke and the International Office secretary Malou Weirich.

These allotment gardens have around 400 members and were developed between 1983 and 1985.

The area covers around 10 hectares and includes 260 allotments. The average size of an allotment is between 350 to 450 m2.

Stefan Tidow (Staatssekretär für Umwelt, Verkehr und Klimaschutz), Peter Paschke, Burkhard Träder (1. Vorsitzender der KGA „Am Kienberg“), Malou Weirich, Günter Landgraf, Gert Schoppa.In recent years, the association's gardeners firmly decided to proceed with a way of gardening that does not use any toxic products.

Over the last three years, the number of fruit trees in the allotment garden were increased by around 300 ancient species of indigenous fruit trees and decorate the allotment garden site's paths and squares, of which a good number attract bees.
In the meantime, three of the allotment garden association's members have become beekeepers.

The allotment garden association and the members of the Marzahn-Hellersdorf community college invite local residents to take part in pruning lessons for the fruit trees. In this way the association's training activities in nature and the environment are shared with the Berlin population.

Educational nature trails and a number of nesting boxes have also been set up.

These are only a few of the activities organized by these allotment gardeners in the area of nature and environment protection.

Assembly of the delegates in Sankt Gallen on May 20th, 2017

As usually every second year, the delegates of the Swiss allotment gardeners met in Sankt Gallen on May 20th, 2017.

It was an important assembly as Walter Schaffner, after 28 years of work within the federation and after 12 years as president, continued this function to Christophe Campiche.

CHWalter Schaffner received both from the Swiss allotment gardeners and the International Office a hearty thank you for the achieved work and Christophe Campiche received all their best wishes for taking up the future challenges.

In addition to the statutory requirements, the resolution joined as appendix was adopted.

Allotments constitute in a town, and especially in a compact town, a healthy environement, are attractive spaces for recreation and leisure, stimulate health and relations between people, are living spaces for fauna and flora to name only these few beneficial aspects.

pdf document Resolution

 

Focus on allotments

Smaller but still productive Allotment Stand at Harrogate Spring Flower Show 20th – 23rd April 2017 (Great-Britain)

Following a bout of illness after all the very strenuous Allotment Show Garden successes last year I have decided to restrict myself to leaflet stands and just helping with the creation of Allotment Show Gardens when necessary.

Roscoe and meSo this year I simply produced a decorated leaflet stand for the promotion of Allotments at the Harrogate Spring Flower Show under the banner of Yorkshire Allotment Gardeners Federation and the National Allotment Society. There was also planting of seeds provided for the children. I also invited MyHarvest project Based at Sheffield University to join us, a project which could prove very beneficial to our allotment movement. They sent a team of volunteers to man their part of the stand which complimented the volunteers from YAGF. Their administrator Roscoe Blevins was a natural showman and fit right in to my rather extravert approach to the promotion of allotments. The combined stand worked extremely well as we could refer punters to both sides of the stand. The project collected details from many prospective participants.

And that was not all...

Busy time at Harrogate Spring Flower Show

In addition to erecting the Allotment promotion stand and manning it for the duration of the show, I was once again asked to do talks with Martin Walker, the creator of many of the Leeds City Council show gardens at Chelsea. The talks took place on the Kitchen Garden Magazine stage every morning. Martin and I are like chalk and cheese. He can refer to his professional horticultural expertise and I refer to very down to earth gardening on a shoestring with lots of props on display such as concrete reinforcing mesh for plant supports, scaffold debris netting for plant protection, plastic water pipe to make cloches and much more and all put together with quite a bit of Yorkshire humour and not forgetting the added comments about the benefits of allotment gardening. It seems to work very well with audiences standing in the aisles; so we must be doing something right.

2On the Sunday morning I was called for a radio interview on the Radio Leeds, Tim & Graham Gardening Show. I have had some quite humorous interviews with these two about allotments before, in their studio, but this was being held in the corner of one of the flower halls. It was primarily about the promotion of allotments at the show and the MyHarvest involvement in the show and again it developed into a quite jovial chat with some light hearted banter. It was all good fun, but getting the message across about the promotion, protection and preservation of allotments and all the benefits they can offer.

 

 

Plans for the future

I am hoping to do another allotment promotional stand with MyHarvest at the Great Yorkshire Show, Tuesday 11th – Thursday 13th July again under the banner of the YAGF and the NAS.

Phil Gomersall

Cost Action: "Urban Allotments in European Cities"

InfosheetThis Cost-Action took place over 4 years from 2012 – 2016. (The final event was organized in Basel from September 8th until 10th 2016 see news from 27th September 2016).

In addition to the book: "Urban Allotment gardens in Europe" 14 factsheets were published for allotment gardeners, authorities and other stakeholders.

As appendix you find these factsheets, which have already been forwarded to all the national federations.

For other languages see: http://www.urbanallotments.eu/fact-sheets.html

 

1. HOW TO PREVENT THE LOSS OF ALLOTMENT LAND TO DEVELOPMENT? pdf (download)

2. HOW TO STRENGTHEN THE SIGNIFICANCE OF URBAN GARDENS IN THE CITY? pdf (download)

3. WHERE ELSE CAN YOU GROW IF YOU CANNOT FIND AN ALLOTMENT? pdf (download)

4. HOW TO SET UP A GARDEN (AND KEEP IT GOING)? pdf (download)

5. HOW TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT GARDENERS' MOTIVATIONS INTO URBAN GARDEN PLANNING? pdf (download)

6. HOW TO MAKE YOUR URBAN GARDEN YOUR OWN PLACE ? pdf (download)

7. HOW TO DEVELOP URBAN GARDENS AS LEARNING SPACES? pdf (download)

8. WHAT IS A GOOD LOCATION FROM AN ENVIRONMENTAL PERSPECTIVE? pdf (download)

9. HOW TO ENHANCE BIODIVERSITY IN URBAN ALLOTMENT GARDENS? pdf (download)

10. HOW TO IMPROVE THE YIELD AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT? pdf (download)

11. THE CONTRIBUTION OF URBAN ALLOTMENT GARDENS TO ECOSYSTEM SERVICES. pdf (download)

12. HOW TO IMPROVE WATER MANAGEMENT IN URBAN ALLOTMENT GARDENS? pdf (download)

13. DO I NEED DESIGN SUPPORT FOR MY GARDEN? pdf (download)

14. HOW TO AVOID RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH URBAN GROWN FOOD? pdf (download)

 

The Common Poppy –Papaver rhoeas

Despite its classification as a "weed", the common poppy, or field poppy, a volunteer plant in vegetable gardens, benefits from widespread sympathy.

franceAlready a part of the (French) nursery rhymes of our childhood, the "…gentil coquelicot, Mesdames..." is assured of our benevolence through the spark of gaiety the luminous red flower exudes. Even when the prolific flower becomes a bit intrusive, we hate to destroy it and always manage to preserve a few roofs. Even the impressionist painters often pay tribute to the plant, like Claude Monet with his ladies holding umbrellas and in wide hats amongst the scarlet tips of poppies.

The poppy comes from North Africa and the Middle East. In the beginning it was considered a "harvest" plant, associated with the harvest because it proliferated in grain fields like the Cornflower. They have been pushed out by herbicides and now are found along roadsides, in vacant lots and in gardens.

The poppy belongs to the Papaver family, counting over 60 species of poppies, some of which are highly toxic. When it appears in a vegetable garden, it spreads a large number of small, black round seeds around it, ensuring prolonged presence of the flower. Well, who's complaining?

Its light green foliage is very low cut, the flowers appear from May to August and are light red with four large petals, a bit wrinkled and featuring a black spot at the base. It has a hairy stem that when broken releases a sticky, white latex substance that contains alkaloids used in pharmaceutical products.

Brews made of its dried leaves are used to fight insomnia through their hypnotic powers, and are also beneficial against bronchial disorders and throat irritations. The common poppy is one of the components of the renowned "Four Flower Infusion" along with Mallow, Coltsfoot and Catsfoot.

The common field poppy should not be confused with its close relation, the opium poppy, whose flowers are pale violet and has wide, grey-green leaves. This plant is clearly toxic through its aggressive hypnotic powers and is coveted by those who seek its illicit substances. Although not a common species, sometimes these poppies also appear in our gardens, where we hesitate to eliminate such a superb plant.

Finally poppy seed is used in pastry and bread making. The petals are also the base ingredient of candies and of a poppy based syrup that is a specialty of the city of Nemours.

Alain Redon

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