More than 100 years ago the first allotment garden colony was founded in Vienna. Today there are around 36,000 allotment garden plots, which are larger than the 7 smallest districts of Vienna combined. With the allotment garden association 'Zukunft auf der Schmelz', Vienna even has the largest allotment garden complex in Europe in a densely built-up area. While these gardens were once important for food production, today they are primarily small leisure oases with great significance for the climate, biodiversity and well-being of all Viennese people.
As said, allotments have been part of Vienna for over 100 years. So, it is time to present these refuges in the middle of the big city as they really are. KleingartenTV has created a documentary film for the ORF (Austrian Broadcasting Corporation) showing what makes Vienna's allotments so special. From the beginning to the present day.
The historian and author Peter Autengruber knows the stories of Vienna's allotments like no other and so he knows the interesting stories from the history of allotments in Vienna. Never-before-seen film footage from the archives of the central federation bring history to life and offer worth seeing insights into a time long past.
A time that Elisabeth Meindl experienced herself. She lived in an allotment garden in Vienna for almost 94 years and was kind enough to share her childhood and youth memories with the viewers of the documentary. Stories about the story of a contemporary witness.
Wilhelm Wohatschek, the president of the Central Federation, has dedicated his life to allotment gardening in Austria and we will present the achievements of the Central Federation for the existence and continuation of these small gardens to a large audience in this 25-minute documentary.
But it is not only the allotment gardens that make Vienna something special. It is above all the allotment gardeners. Using Helga Lang and the Floridsdorf women's group as examples, we show how important these people are for society and what great things can be made of small things.
The biodiversity study conducted by university lecturer Gerhard Bedlan of AGES (agency for health and food security) on behalf of the Central Federation shows how important allotment gardens are for life in the big city. The results are fascinating.
Of course, KleingartenTV also makes a foray through the shelters, the harvest fields and orchards and through the allotment gardens themselves in the documentary for the ORF.
The broadcasting of this documentary took place on Saturday 9th March 2019
On Saturday, September 22nd 2018, the time had come again: For the 21st time, the Allotment Award took place in the large ceremonial hall of the Viennese city hall. The theme "My allotment and the moon" again had an enormous amount of submissions, which made it difficult for the jury to choose the winners.
After the presenter, Alex Jokel, had welcomed the guests, the evening continued with an interview with city councillor for women and housing in Vienna, Kathrin Gaal. She talked about how the city is supporting gardening in Vienna. Afterwards there were talks with the president of the Austrian federation, Ing. Wilhelm Wohatschek, and the chairman of the Viennese association, Helmut Bayer. They talked about the very hot summer in the allotment garden and the role of the moon in their own allotment gardens.
Then the prizes were awarded to the different groups, whereby the prizes for the children, which were awarded for the third time this year, were very popular again. The buffet, which was excellent as usual, got great attention as well. Musical entertainment was provided by Martha Butbul, better known as "Jazz Gitti".
Next to the liqueur tasting organised by the women's groups, the extensive supporting programme in the lodges and the adjacent rooms included a photo corner for souvenir photos and the video lounge "allotment TV ". Around 10 p.m. it was time to leave and the guests went home with a little farewell gift, which consisted of a glass of strawberry jam, homemade by the women's groups of Simmering and Floridsdorf in Vienna.
The successful initiative of the Lower Austrian association called "Counting birds in the allotment garden" entered its second round in 2018 and has been well received in the Lower Austrian allotment garden associations. BirdLife Austria, an organisation for bird protection, again took a closer look at the results of the counting.
At the end of April, 19 allotment garden associations followed the call to count the birds in their allotment gardens. That's a great success, because in comparison to last year, the participating associations nearly doubled. "Birds are indispensable for allotment gardens", described chairman Franz Riederer the big success of the initiative.
The tree sparrow takes the lead
As in the previous year the tree sparrow, the blackbird and the Great Tit have been the most seen in the Lower Austrian allotment gardens. The Blue Tit, collared dove and the Western Greenfinch have also been diligently reported by the bird counters. "The findings fit perfectly into the picture of Austrian gardens – these very common garden birds could be found in the allotment gardens too" according to Benjamin Seaman, bird watcher from BirdLife.
Green living room for garden birds
The birds especially fly to the allotment gardens of the associations Traiskirchen, St. Pölten-ASGV-Stattersdorf and St. Pölten-Kollerberg", because there the highest biodiversity was observed. In Traiskirchen you even find 20 different bird species! A special "eye candy" were the five goldfinches there – with their colourful feathers they are always an absolute eye-catcher. These flashy birds are also called "thistle finch" because of their food preference for thistles. They feel especially comfortable in gardens that have many wild herbs and shrubs. But generally speaking, birds are always an indicator for an intact environment. "The more bird species are observed in the allotment garden, the more valuable it is for the fauna", BirdLife says.
Bird's paradise in the allotment garden
With a few measures one can aim to attract birds to one's allotment garden and enjoy them the whole year around. Our animal "subtenants" fly to natural, diverse gardens with many native shrubs, hedges and fruit trees. Also, nesting boxes can be attached and in winter a bird feeding station can be put up. That way the bird watching from your own garden door is possible all year long.