In Finland the year 2016 has been a Green Year, appointed by the Ministry of the Environment. The aim of the year was to stimulate individuals, communities, organizations and companies to work for a better and more comfortable living environment. The theme of the year was 'My landscape in the countryside and in the city'. This was the fifth Green Year – the previous have been arranged in 1985, 1995, 2000 and 2008.
The closing event of the Green Year was arranged October 27th 2016 in the prestigious House of the Estates in Helsinki. During the event there was a ceremony, where 26 individuals, organizations and companies were awarded with a Green Year Medal. One of the awarded was The Finnish Federation for Allotment Gardeners. The Federation received the medal for "its meritorious work for an environment important, healthy and comfortable for everyone". The medal was received by President Pertti Laitila and Administrator Tina Wessman of the Finnish Federation.
The Building Control Department of the City of Helsinki has given the honorary award 'The Rose of Building' to the allotment association Brunakärr Koloniträdgårdsförening's building committee. The rationale was "For active promotion of the allotment institution and profound instructions on how to make an old leisure activity tradition blooming in the middle of the hectic city."
The association has strived to save the values of the allotment site by composing a report on the history. Based on the report they made a map guiding the placement of the cottages and both building instructions and model blueprints for the cottages. In the report there is an inventory of all garden plants, from trees to summer flowers. The several types of cottages in the blueprint aims at enlarging the old cottages, which gives an excellent base for retaining the scale of the site, materials used and details. The history report also gives a solid basis for the city planning.
Brunakärr Koloniträdgård is situated in Ruskeasuo (Brunakärr in Swedish), approximately 5 kilometers from the city center and consists 114 parcels of various sizes (100-700 m2). Brunakärr Allotment Garden, founded in 1918, is the oldest allotment garden situated at its original site in Finland. When the site was founded, it was situated far in the outskirts of the city. Nowadays it makes a green oasis squeezed in between one of the main streets, new business buildings and a bus depot. In the zoning plan of the City of Helsinki the site is mentioned as an green area with importance to both cultural history and architecture.
[IMAGE Front from left to right: architect Ebba Michelsson and landscape architect Camilla Rosengren.
Back from left to right: previous President Ann-Mari Estlander and present President Marga Brunila of Brunakärr Koloniträdgårdsförening.]
The Global Dry Toilet Association of Finland is yearly giving a recognized award for promoting and improving the use of dry toilets. The 14. award was given Mr. Taavi Seppälä – the estate manager of Nekala Allotment Garden in Tampere. The award, ‘the Golden Pitchfork’, was given to Mr. Seppälä on the World Environment Day June 5th.
Mr Seppälä has for many years acted as a facilitator for dry toilets at Nekala Allotment garden. His dedication to the dry toilets, as well as promoting the use of the nutrients the toilets produces has been pioneering. Several other allotment gardens have visited Nekala in order to learn how to process the toilet waste and how to end use the produced fertilizers. The toilet facilities in Nekala Allotment garden are fully taken care of by dry toilets.
Today, there are nine dry toilets in the allotment garden serving the gardeners and visitors. Between 2005 and 2010, the allotment gardens compost toilets and toilet waste treatment was completely redesigned. The planning and implementation of the reform was mainly carried out by Mr. Seppälä. Also the post processing has been revised. The yield is used after a thorough ex-composting both at common areas and in the gardens in Nekala.
The Dry Toilet Association and Nekala Allotment Garden have – together with Mr. Seppälä - been working together in order to promote, in particular, the nutrient cycle. Mr. Taavi Seppälä is described to be a “daring reformer” . The dry toilets have attracted interest beyond the borders of Finland and the allotment garden has been visited by guests from dozens of countries. "Taavi has always welcomed us with pleasure and introduced the exemplarily managed dry toilet solutions” says the Project Manager Susanna Pakula from the Global Dry Toilet Association of Finland.
Nekala Allotment Garden was founded in 1932. In the budget for year 1932 there was a reservation of 600 FIM (appr. 100 euros) for the "outdoor buildings". We have come a long way since those days and now Nekala has a highly functional dry toilet system circulating the fertilizers.
Appendix with pictures (in Finnish). The Global Dry Toilet Association of Finland reporting about the rationale for the award and the award ceremony at Nekala Allotment Garden in Tampere. ...