In the beginning pesticides looked to be like a blessing from heaven. They had the ability to kill unwanted, dangerous and irritating insects. And with simple devices they could be sprayed on or being blown to places, plants, objects or bodies where this seemed to be useful.
After the Second World War DDT did a magnificent job and soon it became very popular. In every grocery store it was available so not only professional agriculture, but nearly every household used it for getting rid of unwanted insects.
After some time it became clear that there were unwanted side effects. It not only effectively killed damage giving insects but useful insects as well. And even worse its remains were spread in nature and finally it became stored in the bodies of animals, doing its killing or damaging work more effectively than anybody had envisioned.
The manufacturer came twice with first a second and thereafter with a third generation product: deldrin and aldrin. These should not have the unwanted side effects of DDT. In reality they were even worse.
With her book "Silent Spring" Rachel Carson showed the world the devastating effects of the large scale use of these products.
Some forerunners banned their use, but the industry continued bringing new products to the market, always suggesting that safe use was possible. The world has seen the effects on humans of the lavishly use of "Agent Orange" in the Vietnam War. Several components of this product have been used by local governments and agriculture, even when they were not allowed by the Food and Drugs administration in the USA.
This sad story continues. Every time again the industry introduces new products, claiming their use is safe and does not have unwanted side effects.
There are strong indications that a widely available herbicide can give damage to our bodies. Other wide spread products not only seem to kill useful honeybees but also as useful wild bees, wasps and flies.
So these are all reasons to participate in the week against pesticides and make people aware of the danger in order to diminish the use of and in many cases introduce a ban on the use of these far from innocent pesticides. You don't need to wait until National or European governmental organisations finally take responsibility.
You can take responsibility yourself. Save the honeybees, prevent chemicals from hidden long term killing and poisoning of living, interesting, beautiful and valuable creatures.
Therefore not only participate in the week of pesticides, but make an end to their unwanted application. Use organic fertilizers such as compost, apply crop rotation, use companion plants etc
Information on http://www.semaine-sans-pesticides.com
On March 3rd and 4th 2017 the national delegates met in Luxembourg for their annual statutory general assembly.
With great pleasure they acknowledged that the Luxembourgish minister for environment protection had granted a substantial financial support for the publication of the Office brochure: "Allotments – discover nature with children" and thank her very much.
They also thank the firm Mayerhofer and especially Friedrich Hauk for the important financial support for the publication of the brochure.
Five demands for diplomas were submitted. The diplomas will be granted at the occasion of the international study session in Copenhagen. The receiving of a diploma is a great recognition for the association's efforts and is additionally a great means for lobbying.
It was also decided to grant the diploma for an ecological gardening to the allotment association "am Kienberg" (Germany). The diploma will be given to the association in Berlin on 20th May 2017 at the occasion of the Day of the Garden.
Besides the statutory tasks, the report and discussions on positive or negative national events, the delegates discussed intensively the subject: "Allotment gardens and Community gardens", as well as "the future of the allotment movement".
The elaboration of guidelines for gardening advice will be continued in a working group.
It was decided to optimize the forum for gardening advisers in order to guarantee its success. Therefore the access to a greater number of interest people should be made possible.
Since 4th March 2017 the Office appears on Facebook in order to be more and better visible.
During the statutory meeting the members of the executive board for the next four years were elected. Daniel CAZANOVE (F), Otmar HOFFMANN (L), Preben JACOBSEN (DK), Peter PASCHKE (D) and Wilhelm WOHATSCHEK (A).
During the first executive board meeting following this election Wilhelm WOHATSCHEK was once more elected as president.
The delegates will meet again in Copenhagen on coming 24th August during their study session.
The next statutory general assembly will take place in Luxembourg on February 23rd and 24th February 2018.
Dear allotment gardeners
This year we have celebrated the 90th anniversary of the International Office. 90 years of work, progress, success, but also sometimes regrets, deceptions or failures.
90 years after its foundation, do we still need the International Office? What can the Office offer to the individual allotment gardeners in a society where on all levels egoism, individualism, national specificities and absence of solidarity seem to be the keywords?
If we analyse our movement we have to acknowledge that today, like yesterday, the gardeners still have the same problems. The solutions in their detail cannot be the same everywhere because the habits and legislations are different. If in certain countries one finds allotments with sheds only used to protect the gardener against bad weather, one finds, in other countries, sheds that enable the gardeners to stay over the day, overnight and sometimes even to live here. All these types of gardens coexist and complete each other. There is not today, as there was not in the past, one model garden.
However, on the whole the solutions adopted have to reach the same result, i.e. a general development of the allotment garden, its stability and all the means necessary for its insertion in the modern town, an insertion highly justified in a civilization, where the social problems, the protection of nature and the fight against pollutions have become major problems.
Taken individually the federations are still not strong enough to reach their aim, which is the sustainable development of the allotment movement in an environment that is becoming more and more complex. Alone they are not sufficiently equipped to face the new challenges in an optimal way.
Therefore, without hesitation, one has to say that we still need the Office.
The roots are invisible but they make a tree grow. Our roots are the love of the 2 million allotment garden families for gardening, our social engagement, our efforts for the protection of nature and environment and for a sustainable development, the fellowship and our efforts for the well-being of all. The ethic is more important than the form.
These roots have allowed the tree representing our movement grow. They are still sufficiently strong to make new branches grow and to make the movement develop for the well-being of all the allotment gardeners and for society as a whole.
The national federations are alone legitimated in order to represent the national allotment gardeners. However, they are as well a transmission organ of the Office's work towards the national gardeners. The Offices work is not an aim for itself, but this work directly serves the national gardeners.
• The exchange of experiences within the International Office remains essential in order to enable the federations to know everything that is happening around them and so to optimize their own actions and to be able to defend the interests of the individual allotment garden members in an optimal way.
• The taking of common positions to influence decision makers will have positive consequences for each individual gardener.
• Texts, actions and directives to be adopted will help the gardeners to improve to develop activities and projects in order to better become integrated in society and towns.
• The Office by the services offered has to help its members to face the new challenges for example by the technical gardening advice, which has to be generalized and then regularly updated.
Allotment gardens are not yet protected everywhere. Together we have to make a survey of all the means and methods used in addition to specific legislations in order to protect them, as for example their integration in the urban green infrastructures, their inclusion in cultural roundtrips, them being taken into consideration as ecological compensation grounds as well as their integration in social projects.
We have to welcome new interested people and consider all forms of gardening. Urban gardening often focuses on another category of people with different objectives than traditional allotment gardeners. Together we have to analyze this phenomenon and take it into consideration. These two phenomena can and have to complete each other harmoniously. We have to see what the authorities' and the population's concerns are and propose and solutions that are in accordance with people's requests our projects.
The Office together with the federations has to take part in scientific missions, campaigns and activities in order to focus the attention of the authorities and international organizations on our movement, on the federations and the allotment gardeners' activities in order, on one hand to better anchor them in society and, on the other hand in order to better orientate the activities to be developed.
We have to be extraordinary. We have to be and remain a modern, attractive and combating force. We have not only to administer what we have achieved, but we have to innovate and prepare the future. We have to become the most sustainable form of urban gardening.
In this way I wish you a good health and much success for 2017.
Secretary general of the International Office du Coin de Terre et des Jardins Familiaux