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BDG Academic Award 2023

Tag des GartensThe BDG Academic Award is presented every four years by the German Allotment Garden federation (BDG), the umbrella organisation of allotment gardening in Germany. All academics and students conducting academic activities in the context of allotment gardening are invited to submit their entries. The award recognises academic work that puts forward new and future-oriented ideas that promote the ecological, urban developmental and social functions of allotment gardens.

The aim of the Academic Award is to direct the attention of academics working in the fields of urban and regional development and landscape planning to allotment gardening. It is supposed to raise awareness among town and city planners of the potential of allotment gardens when it comes to furthering a green infrastructure. The BDG wishes to acknowledge ideas and innovative approaches that are exemplary in the way they seek to integrate allotment gardening in projects directed towards preserving the environment, strengthening our social structures, and enhancing the quality of life in towns and cities.

It is particularly important to us that due recognition is given to academic work and projects that have an exemplary effect on green and social aspects of urban development and that contribute to the creation of a modern green infrastructure. The competition aims to stimulate interest in topics relating to allotment gardens and urban green areas in the relevant academic fields and in their practical implementation.

It is not just the German Allotment Garden federation and its members who are currently facing wide-ranging challenges in securing the continued existence and development of allotment gardens. Other national member associations of the Office International du Coin de Terre et des Jardins Familiaux – with more than three million affiliated leisure gardeners the largest leisure garden organisation in Europe – also wish to secure, qualify and develop allotment gardening as an important contributor to the green infrastructure in Europe. This process is not just relevant to people in political and administrative institutions, but also to urban developers and town planners.

To be considered for the award, papers must in some way contribute to the requirements-based development of existing allotment gardens. Another option will be to determine, by empirical means, the value of allotment gardens to society and/or the environment.
Papers should originate from the context of universities and other institutes of higher education, and the themes covered should relate to the role of allotment gardens in Europe in the widest sense, in the context of urban and regional development and landscape planning. They should highlight, within a broad context, the significance of allotment gardens in the sustainable development of a green urban and rural landscape. They should point out the extent to which allotments are able to play a role in shaping the future development of cities and towns, and how allotment gardeners can contribute as local stakeholders to an urban landscape development that is both ecologically and socially sustainable.

Possible themes could be ones that consider innovative approaches to the creation, expansion and restructuring of allotments. Examples are:

• Descriptions of modification measures in response to changes in demand,

• Concepts and projects with innovative approaches to securing existing allotments, possibly with regard to the ecological enhancement of – and recognition as – compensatory areas,

• Innovative usages of allotments subject to the provisions of the Federal Allotment Garden Law.

The competition is formally aimed at academic work that can also be sure of arousing interest and acceptance within their departments. The range extends from outstanding seminar papers and bachelor’s theses to master’s theses and on to dissertations. Academic articles published in English may also be submitted. The production and publication period is limited to 2019 to 2023.

Day of the garden 2020

Day of the garden 2020 „Allotment gardens – green that unifies“

This is the motto for the day of the garden 2020, which is celebrated throughout Germany since 1984 naturally on the second Sunday in June. The central event on 14th June 2020 around the associative home of the Hannover district federation was cancelled due to the corona-virus crisis. Other host federations should have been Braunschweig and Lower Saxony.

However, numerous allotment garden sites throughout Germany will open their doors all over the year to celebrate this event and give curious visitors a taste of garden life. In 2020 the day of the garden should once again remind us of the many ways in which (allotment) garden enriches life.

Feeding a city – Leicester as a case study of the importance of allotments for horticultural production in the UK

Science of The Total EnvironmentScience of The Total Environment
Volume 705, 25 February 2020, 135930

Feeding a city – Leicester as a case study of the importance of allotments for horticultural production in the UK

Get rights and content Under a Creative Commons license


• Urban agriculture provides important ecosystem services to people living in cities.
• Allotment gardening in 1.5% land within a city provides fresh produce for 3% of population.
• Crop yields achieved by own-growers were similar to commercial crop yields.
• Availability of land for own-growing has significantly declined since the 1950s.
• Urban food security could be increased by providing more allotment land.

The process of urbanization has detached a large proportion of the global population from involvement with food production. However, there has been a resurgence in interest in urban agriculture and there is widespread recognition by policy-makers of its potential contribution to food security. Despite this, there is little data on urban agricultural production by non-commercial small-scale growers. We combine citizen science data for self-provisioning crop yields with field-mapping and GIS-based analysis of allotments in Leicester, UK, to provide an estimate of allotment fruit and vegetable production at a city-scale. In addition, we examine city-scale changes in allotment land provision on potential crop production over the past century. The average area of individual allotment plots used to grow crops was 52%. Per unit area yields for the majority of crops grown in allotments were similar to those of UK commercial horticulture. We estimate city-wide allotment production of >1200 t of fruit and vegetables and 200 t of potatoes per annum, equivalent to feeding >8500 people. If the 13% of plots that are completely uncultivated were used this could increase production to >1400 t per annum, feeding ~10,000 people, however this production may not be located in areas where there is greatest need for increased access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The citywide contribution of allotment cultivation peaked in the 1950s when 475 ha of land was allotments, compared to 97 ha currently. This suggests a decline from >45,000 to <10,000 of people fed per annum. We demonstrate that urban allotments make a small but important contribution to the fruit and vegetable diet of a UK city. However, further urban population expansion will exert increasing development pressure on allotment land. Policy-makers should both protect allotments within cities, and embed urban agricultural land within future developments to improve local food security.

Graphical abstract

Graphical abstract

Events in the allotment garden museum Leipzig

Due to the Corona virus crisis, events can be cancelled, please check.

museumThe allotment gardeners' museum in Leipzig is unique in the world as a special museum of cultural history with various forms of presentations. In the classical exhibition the historical development of the small gardens is shown. The three show gardens, however, convey a very practical impression. The central location and the authentically location in the middle of the listed allotment garden site additionally create a special atmosphere.

Also in 2020 with a varied programme we invite you to visit the museum and experience the history of the allotment gardens.

Highlights in 2020

• 9th May 04-00 hour p.m.
Museum night in Leipzig and Halle A cultural night with exhibition, creative events and campfire with live music

• 17th May 02.-06 hour p.m.
international museum day and plant exchange Under the motto "Museum for all – Museum for diversity and inclusion" we open our doors and gates. The plant exchange offers young plants from the museum's own cultivation

• 13th September 01-05 p.m.
Open monument day Highlight: 11.00 a.m. Walking tour: "architecture of the west suburb of Leipzig"

• 19. September 02-06 p.m.
Apple variety identification in cooperation with the Bundessortenamt Wurzen.

• 21. November 07 p.m.
Night of the house music An evening with life-music in a convivial atmosphere in the museum's exhibition rooms

For the full programme, please visit our website at Guided tours can also be booked outside our regular opening hours.

Start early... become a master! Therefore: Nobody is too young to love gardens! Take your children and grandchildren with you into the garden and introduce them to the secrets of nature.

Text: Christina Bösiger (Gartenfreund/Jardin familial 03/2020 Switzerland)

Kinder1Exactly 180 years ago the first “Kindergarten” (children’s garden) opened its doors in 1840. The name already underlined the programme of the “Kindergarten” inventor Friedrich Fröbel, because the garden and nature seemed to him to be the most important environment to do justice to the importance of early childhood education. Thus, he believed that young people should spend a large part of their free time in nature and in the garden in order to develop ideally. And this is still true today: Children should play in green areas instead of looking at screens! They should move, climb and be active. They should discover and explore nature that the little ones do not only learn about life cycles, but also discover how and where healthy food grows. By tending and caring for plants, they learn to take on responsibility, to make decisions and to understand the ecological relationships.

Immersion into the realm of the senses!
Kinder2Digging, playing in the mud, shaping, smelling and tasting – sensual discovering is easy in the garden. While the parents poke the soil, the offspring can feel with their feet what is inside it. They run over freshly germinated lawn, hop over hard clods of earth and dig in the soil with their bare fingers. That feels good! Not only for the development of their personality, but also because they are in motion and in the fresh air. Give your children their own plot or a corner with large pots from the very beginning, where they can sow, plant, cut and later also nibble to their heart’s content. The amount of work involved in preparing the ground depends, among other factors, on where you place the children’s plot. If a small corner in the vegetable garden is left free for this purpose, then the soil is usually optimally prepared. If, however, the plot is to be laid out where lawn used to grow, the grass must be cut off and the soil loosened up in depth. The easiest way to do this is to buy ready-to-use garden soil from a specialist retailer without peat – of course –and then you can sow or plant. Get inspired together and go shopping for seeds, flower bulbs, tuber or seedlings. Special seed bands make sowing a child’s play. Tip: For planting and digging, weeding and watering, the little ones naturally want gardening tools that look just like the big ones. There are plenty of true-to-original mini spades, rakes and watering cans suitable for children and – very important – small garden gloves.     

Sweet scents galore
A garden bed that smells as sweet as a candy bag – every child would like to stick its nose into it. It is hard to believe, which sugar-free smells, nature has to offer with which a beguiling child bed can be laid out. Also Rosa Wolf has described some of them in her book “Kinder im Garten, mehr Garten leben” published by BLV Buchverlag:

Lemon balm (melissa officinalis)
When you rub your hands over the leaves, you immediately breathe the intense lemon scent. The plant, which comes from southern Europe is completely undemanding and grows to 80 cm high. However, it should be cut back immediately after flowering, otherwise it will conquer the whole garden with its seedlings. Did you know? Lemon balm put on the heart is said to help with heart sickness.

Chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanuineus)
From the dark, burgundy red blossoms a delicious bittersweet fragrance flows. In a sunny place it blooms from June to the end of October. It grows to a height of 60 cm. Like the dahlias, its tubers are placed every year after the ice saints in pots or in a bed and are taken out again to store them frost-free before the frosts in autumn.

Chewing gum plant (Chrysanthemum balsamita)
Its leaf smells as fresh as Original Wrighley’s Spearmint. In sunny corners the 60 cm high perennial plant grows without any problems. From August it opens small yellow flowers. When dried, the leaves are nice smelling bookmarks. Already in the Middle Ages the fresh fragrance was appreciated for hymn books. It is therefore also called Mary’s leaves.

Mint (mentha species)
Depending on the variety, the leaves smell of bananas or oranges, chewing gum or After-Eight chocolate.

Gummy bear flower (Cephalophora aromatica)
The little summer flower smells as sweet as gummy bears in all its parts. You sow it in April. It grows to a height of 50 cm. Indians use it to dye wool yellow.

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