Hyphen 61 News from the Office - Office International du Coin de Terre et des Jardins Familiaux association sans but lucratif | June 2017 - Office ...

Hyphen 61 News from the Office - Office International du Coin de Terre et des Jardins Familiaux association sans but lucratif | June 2017 - Office ...
Hyphen 61
News from the Office

Office International du Coin de Terre et des Jardins Familiaux
association sans but lucratif | June 2017
                                                 Hyphen 61 | 2017   1
Hyphen 61 News from the Office - Office International du Coin de Terre et des Jardins Familiaux association sans but lucratif | June 2017 - Office ...

Table of contents:

Editorial                                                                                                    3

Activity report
Activity report 2016 (1st part)                                                                              5

The allotment garden association „Blumenfreunde“ with its bees in Vienna (A)
received the diploma for innovative projects                                                                 8
The allotment association „Zur grünen Insel“ in Bremen (D)
received the diploma for ecological gardening and social activities                                         13
The Allotment Park „De Driehoek“ in Utrecht (NL) received the diploma for social activities                 15

The history of the Office
History of the Office International du Coin de Terre et des Jardins Familiaux 1926 – 2016 (4th part)        17

Actuality theme
Switzerland: The situation in Switzerland and the related services offered
by the Swiss allotment federation to its members                                                            21

Information from the federations
Germany: The Allotment gardeners’ contribution towards saving a good working soil                           23
Great-Britain: Langley Park Community Garden                                                                25
Sweden: Environmental certification of Swedish allotment associations                                       26

Addresses                                                                                                   28
Impressum                                                                                                   29

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Walter Schaffner
former President of the Swiss Allotment Federation

                                          There is a saying „where there is work,    support from the Solidarity Fund. In
                                          there are mistakes“.                       Zurich the allotment area „Vulkan“ of
                                                                                     the FGV Altstetten-Albisrieden is also
                                          In 2005, I took over the presidency in     threatened by a loss of garden plots.
                                          Frauenfeld. It was always my wish to       The new ZSC stadium should be built
                                          be able to pass over the presidency in     here. We also financially supported
                                          the east of Switzerland. Thanks to the     the association using the solidarity
                                          organization of the 2017 delegates’        fund for the voting campaign and fur-
                                          assembly by the Central Federation         thermore took part in the media con-
                                          of the St. Gallen Allotment Associa-       ference on the garden site. In Central
                                          tion, my wish was fulfilled – thank you    Switzerland, the lease contracts for
                                          very much.                                 gardening and the building regulations
                                                                                     were amended and have already been
                                          Over the past two years the Executive      put into practice. In the city of St. Gal-
                                          Board has also dealt with the problem      len three areas are also affected. They
Walter Schaffner                          concerning the future of our federa-       are to be built over within the next two
                                          tion. On the basis of an analysis of       to four years. A replacement ground is
On May 20th at the delegates’ assem-      the federation made by EMHO Man-           offered here, but the urban allotment
bly in my hometown St. Gallen, I re-      agement AG in Alpnach, we have been        concept of 2006 will be revised and
signed and transferred my mandate         looking for more efficient structures      unpleasant news are expected.
as President of the federation to my      in our organization. We would like to
successor, Christophe Campiche, who       implement some good approaches,            We are pleased to see that younger
had already been elected President in     including the creation of an external      families are again finding access to
Riehen 2 years ago. This transfer took    audit department and the transfer of       gardening. At present times there are
place after 12 years as president and     greater responsibility and increased       again waiting lists. The boards of the
28 years of work on the executive         competences to the regional repre-         sections and associations are, how-
board. During those 28 years, I as-       sentatives. We developed this project      ever, also challenged by the tenants’
sumed various assignments on the          during six meetings of the manage-         cultivation of the plots and increasing-
executive board, and now it was time      ment board, in four meetings of the        ly have to cancel leases. In addition,
to retire.                                executive board, and one in the work-      they have important staff problems.
                                          ing group dealing with the revision of     Who is still ready to assume a man-
We were able to introduce some inno-      the statutes.                              date today? For a long time we were
vations during my presidential man-                                                  looking for successors for some re-
date: the regulations, a homepage         An almost continuous subject is the        gional representatives; even calls in
with an application for our magazine      problem concerning the termination         the „Gartenfreund“(our review) were
„the garden friend“, the second edition   of the leases concerning alloment          necessary. This is a long- lasting issue
of our brochure „Naturnah gepflegt“       sites. In Bern the „Viererfeld“, a green   with which the executive board must
as well as a lobbying of national and     area which is situated in the agricul-     also deal very intensively in the future.
state councils to mention only the        tural zone and also houses family          Despite various resignations, whether
most important ones. This could not       gardens is to be overbuilt with new        for reasons of age or long-term man-
be done alone. It was only possible       houses. The affected allotment as-         agement, our executive board is now
to do this comprehensive work with        sociation „Brückfeld“ has joined forc-     complete again. For many allotment
a strong team. Not everything always      es with various parties and organi-        sites leaving the federation is not a
worked according to plan. Mistakes        zations, so that they can fight for a      voluntary step, but is due to the fact
also were made during these years         voting against this project. Our feder-    that an area is being overbuilt and no
and I would like to apologize for them.   ation has contributed with a financial     replacement ground is available.

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Over the past two years, positive re-     been reduced, but is still intact and we   published about the allotment move-
ports have been published in the me-      are cooperating again more strongly        ment. The summaries, which are al-
dia about allotment gardening. Fur-       with Bioterra. FiBL conducted a study      ready available in three languages,
thermore some good programmes or          in the cities of Lucerne, Lausanne, Ba-    can be important for the future of our
interviews have been broadcasted on       sel and St. Gallen. The reports can be     movement. That is why it is important
the radio DRS. This used sometimes        found on our homepage. We are hav-         that information from the individual af-
to be different in the past. Now we are   ing increasingly discussions with Pro-     filiated leagues gets to the Office.
increasingly asked for reports.           Natura, ProSpecieRara and the bird
                                          protection. The issue of „biodiversi-      I would like to thank my colleagues on
Our project of building up lobbying at    ty“ requires our fullest attention with    the management board and the feder-
the occasion of the Federal Elections     regard to the implementation by 2020       ation’s executive board for the good
in the autumn of 2015 has started         of the Nagoya protocol that was rati-      cooperation in the past years. I would
well, but it must not be neglected in     fied by Switzerland. In this area there    also like to thank the executive board
the future. The aim is to find politi-    will be a few challenges for the as-       of the International Office for the very
cians at the cantonal and federal lev-    sociations and our federation in the       good cooperation during my term
el, who support our movement above        coming years.                              of office. I address a special thank-
all in spatial planning questions or                                                 you to the Secretary General, Malou
guideline changes. Talks with poli-       We were able to provide some useful        Weirich, for the cooperation and the
ticians are always important for us.      information to the International Office,   long-standing personal contact also
This contact must also be intensively     thanks to our connections to techni-       on a private level. I hope we can con-
maintained by our regional represent-     cal high schools and the Swiss net-        tinue to cultivate it. I would also like to
atives. We must further try to continue   works. The most important one was          thank all the presidents of the leagues
and intensify cooperation with other      the „Cost“ project. Thanks to this in-     affiliated to the International Office for
like-minded organisations and feder-      formation, the Office participated with    their cooperation. I wish all the best
ations. We cannot avoid cooperation       some countries in the regular Cost         to the whole Office for the future. You
and follow our own path towards the       meetings. The final event took place       will certainly not lack work and new
future. With shared synergies, we can     in Basel. Thanks to the participation      challenges will await you.
benefit from each other. The cooper-      of the Office and some leagues, one
ation with the VdGV has somewhat          could control what was gathered and

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Activity report 2016
(1st part)

The executive board has the pleasure          ed to ask the general assembly to          not work. This problem has to be
to submit the activity report for 2016        discuss this problem during the            discussed once more in the gener-
to you.                                       general assembly of March 2017.            al assembly and it should be tried
                                                                                         to open the internet forum for the
Internal activities                       •   It took the necessary measures             gardening advisers.
Since the last statutory general as-          for a third edition of the infor-
sembly the executive board met on             mation brochure and for another        •   The executive board considered to
August 16th, November 26th and is             edition of the brochure concern-           celebrate the 90th anniversary of
still going to meet on March 5th, 2017.       ing children and nature as well as         the Office during the international
                                              for the finalization of the brochure       congress in Vienna i. e. at the oc-
a) Work of the executive board                concerning innovative projects.            casion of the opening session of
and of the general assembly                                                              the congress. It was additionally
Work of the executive board               •   On proposal of the BDG it was              considered by the Austrian allot-
The executive board is conscious of           decided to propose to the general          ment federation to issue at this
the importance of a better visibility         assembly to „internationalize“ the         occasion a brochure concerning
of the Office and consequently dis-           German brochure dealing with the           the history of the Office from 1926
cussed, among others, the following           problem concerning the soil.               until 2016. Professor KATSCH
subjects in order to present the nec-                                                    agreed to write the last part of the
essary details to the general assem-      •   Furthermore, the executive board           Office history i. e. from 1980 until
bly for an adequate decision making           proposed to the general assembly           today. So, a third part of the Office
and in order to execute the decisions         to issue the Hyphen four times a           history can be issued (part 1 and
taken as well as possible:                    year instead of two times a year in        part 2 were already issued by the
                                              order to create and keep up tighter        German allotment garden muse-
•   The executive board has acknowl-          links with the national allotment          um). It has to be discussed with
    edged that the criteria for asking        gardeners.                                 the German allotment museum
    support from the solidarity fund                                                     if the two existing parts could be
    do no more match the current          •   The executive board was of the             unified with the third part in one
    situation. The text was therefore         opinion that one should continue           single edition.
    amended and a new draft submit-           to regularly update the homepage
    ted to the general assembly.              and that, therefore, the federations   •   In parallel to this brochure, a sur-
                                              had to be asked to send in more            vey of the history of the Office
•   The executive board also dis-             contributions.                             should be published in the Hyphen
    cussed the problem concerning                                                        over several issues.
    the future of the Office and its      •   It has acknowledged repeatedly
    financial situation. It was decid-        that the internet forum does still

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•   After the meeting of H. BON-           •   The executive board discussed             sion in Belgium in 2018.
    NAVAUD and M. WEIRICH with the             once more the problem concern-
    representatives of commissioner            ing the Community Gardens be-             H. BONNAVAUD, followed by
    VELLA, the situation flowing from          cause they start networking on            the new president and executive
    this, was discussed. It was pro-           regional and national level and           board of the French federation,
    posed to the general assembly to           get much support from the au-             have chosen as congress subject
    take part in the citizen’s consul-         thorities. The executive board will       for 2019: „The soil, a common
    tations and the federations were           propose to the general assembly           good, the soil in all its aspects“.
    asked to volunteer to deal with            that the federations make a survey        This subject should be discussed
    the different areas concerned: cli-        of all forms of Urban Gardening           during the study session 2017 and
    mate, environment, regional policy,        in their country. Then a working          2018 in order to prepare the con-
    youth and education.                       group should analyse which posi-          gress so that during the congress
                                               tion the allotment garden move-           the conclusions can be adopted.
•   After a long research and discus-          ment should adopt and make
    sions it was decided not to contin-        proposals.                                The general assembly decided
    ue to seek for an affiliation of the                                                 to discuss in the study sessions
    Office to the European Environ-        •   Following to the congress in Vien-        2017 and 2018 both the problem
    ment Bureau.                               na the executive board discussed          of the future of the Office and the
                                               the procedure to work out new             problem concerning the soil.
•   The executive board took the               guidelines for gardening advice.
    necessary measures so that the             It will propose to the coming gen-    •   The general assembly decided
    Office can again take part in the          eral assembly to create a working         to issue a third edition of the in-
    week against pesticides in 2017.           group for this elaboration.               formation brochure, to finish the
    A text proposal was elaborated                                                       brochures on children and nature,
    and sent to the national federa-       •   Finally the executive board pro-          respectively on innovative projects
    tions for completion and correct-          poses to the general assembly to          and to issue a brochure on the
    ing so that the final text can be          check if the “rule” one country =         subject of the soil.
    adopted during the general as-             one federation remains necessary
    sembly in March 2017.                      today.                                •   It was decided to open the internet
                                                                                         forum to the gardening advisers.
•   The executive board members            Work of the general assembly                  The necessary password was
    were of the opinion that the Of-       The general assembly was informed             sent to the federations. They also
    fice does not have the necessary       on the work of the executive board,           received once more the general
    means to take part as a partner in     the problems were then discussed              passwords for the internet forum
    a scientific study on climate and      and the necessary decisions taken:            so that every federation has ac-
    urban green (a scientist to accom-                                                   cess to the forum.
    pany this work, the necessity of       •   The revised regulation for the
    federations to host the students           solidarity fund was adopted with      •   The general assembly decid-
    and the impossibility to pay a             unanimity on proposal of the exec-        ed not to issue the Hyphen four
    yearly contribution of 1,000 £ due         utive board.                              times a year but only three times
    to the financial difficulties of the                                                 and to check later if this practice
    Office). The Office had also been      •   The proposal to discuss during            should be continued. Accordingly,
    asked to take part in a network on         the general assembly in March             in cooperation with the company
    urban planning and a joint venture.        2017 the future orientations and          MAYERHOFER the Hyphen could
    These demands were rejected too.           the financial future of the Office        be issued three times in very well
                                               was unanimously adopted by the            conceived issues in 2016. The
•   On proposal of H. BONNAVAUD                delegates.                                information brochure was edited
    the executive board discussed the                                                    for the third time at the occasion
    possibility not only to deal with          After a discussion in the general         of the 38th international congress
    the statutory obligations and the          assembly in August, following the         in Vienna. By end of the year the
    yearly activities during the general       desire of the Danish federation it        brochure concerning children and
    assembly, but to also discuss a            was decided to also discuss this          nature was issued in German,
    specific subject. Thus in 2016 the         problem during the study session          French and English. The brochure
    problem concerning community               in Denmark in 2017 and if neces-          concerning the innovative projects
    gardening was discussed.                   sary as well during the study ses-        will probably be issued at the be-

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    ginning of 2017.                       •   It was considered to check if the         sembly the Swedish federation
                                               national members in the European          presented itself with the services
•   The cooperation with the Europe-           Parliament could not support our          given to the allotment gardeners,
    an Union was intensively dis-              efforts to integrate the allotments       their problems and challenges.
    cussed after the information was           in the framework policy on green          It was decided to have such a
    received by the executive board.           infrastructures.                          presentation during each general
                                                                                         assembly. In March 2017 the Lux-
•   It was acknowledged that the Eu-       •   We have to continue sending doc-          embourgish federation is going to
    ropean Union cannot issue legisla-         uments showing our activities in          present itself.
    tion in the areas of concern for the       order to maintain the „pressure“.
    allotment gardeners. The Europe-                                                 •   The general assembly got infor-
    an Union can only give guidelines      •   During the general assembly in            mation by the German federation
    or elaborate framework policies,           March 2016 the problem concern-           on the presentation of the German
    which have to be put into practice         ing community gardening was               and international allotment move-
    on national level.                         presented and discussed under             ment during the IGA 2017 in Ber-
                                               the chair of Cost scientists. This        lin. The highlight for the allotment
•   Additionally, the EU decisions have        problem should be maintained in           gardeners will be the meetings
    to be adopted by a majority vote           our focus in the future in order to       organised from 18th until 20th
    i. e. there are 28 member States,          adopt the right position.                 May, 2017.
    but we have allotment gardeners
    in only 10 member States.              •   During the August general as-                                    To be followed

                                                                                                     Hyphen 61 | 2017      7
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The allotment garden
association „Blumenfreunde“
with its bees in Vienna (A)
received the diploma for
innovative projects
The allotment garden association „Blumenfreunde“ in Vienna’s 21st district has always had a beekeeper
among them and since its very beginning a bee house was part of the association.

                                                                                        The allotment gardeners, in
                                                                                        particular the association’s
                                                                                        management team, have
                                                                                        always appreciated the
                                                                                        work done by the respective
                                                                                        beekeepers as the bees
                                                                                        guaranteed rich harvests in
                                                                                        times of scarcity.

                                                              And all of a sudden the bees
                                                              became the talk of the town. All
                                                              media was and is crammed with
                                                              reports about the bees’ struggle
                                                              for survival. And of course the
                                                              new friends of the bees came
                                                              together and founded – with big
                                                              applause and huge media cover-
                                                              age – associations like the urban
                                                              beekeepers, the rural beekeepers
                                                              and whatever other names they
                                                              could find.

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Only associations such as the allot-     Bees are older than mankind. The first honeybees were found in over 50-mil-
ment garden association „Blumen-         lion-year-old amber. When humans started to develop 5 million years ago,
freunde“ are hardly mentioned or         honeybee colonies already existed. During the Stone Age, honey was a
not at all. Subsidies, which are far     popular energy provider. The eldest document, a 10‘000-year old cave drawing
from insignificant, go to media-ef-      found in Spain, shows „honey hunters“ at work. In our geographical area, bee-
fective and marketable persons,          keeping blossomed during the Middle Ages. The guild of the bee-masters who
companies and associations.              tended to the beehives in the bee trees enjoyed particular privileges.

                                       Bee colonies used to be situated in
                                       tree trunks, baskets and hives with
                                       fixed honeycombs until the hive
                                       frame and the detachable honey-
                                       comb were developed in the 19th
                                       century. Many discoveries and devel-
                                       opments took place during that time.
                                       The invention of the honey separator
                                       made it possible to reuse the honey-
                                       combs after the honey harvest.

                                                                                               Hyphen 61 | 2017     9
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Back to our allotment garden association „Blumenfreunde“: The old bee house (a former allotment garden shed)
was beyond repair; therefore the association decided to build a new bee villa.

Together they built the foundation and the supporting      After the installation of the floor …

…they assembled the framework …                            …and the roof panels were mounted.

The roof sealing with bitumen sheets and the front door    … and the wall boards were fitted.
were next, …

                                                                                               Hyphen 61 | 2017   10

By the way, work makes you thirsty!                              The first window fits right in its place …

… and this is what the bee villa looks like once it is finished and hosts the first beehives.

It is still a bit untidy inside but the bees, the beekeeper,     … because now the demolition of the old shed
the members and the board are happy …                            can take place.

                                                                                                     Hyphen 61 | 2017   11

And above all, the beekeeper can now take the first   … explain his work to them, …
visitors for a tour, …

… and let them taste fresh honey directly from the    The last picture shows how sweet-tempered the bees
honeycombs.                                           of the allotment garden association „Blumenfreunde“
                                                      prove to be: not a single visitor got stung.

                                                                                      Hyphen 61 | 2017      12

The allotment association
„Zur grünen Insel“ in Bremen
(D) received the diploma for
ecological gardening and
social activities

The allotment site „Zur grünen Insel“      green spaces. Pioneer species have        The result is a supportive neighbour-
is an association boasting exactly 100     hardly been established here. Oak and     hood that sees association experts
gardens, which thanks to an almost         beech trees line the paths and gar-       providing advice to domestic garden
perfect location make up the green         dens. Parts of the site are permanent-    owners on sustainable and ecological
lungs of the urban triangle of Horn,       ly shaded but despite this the area is    gardening, gardening tools being lent
Oberneuland and Borgfeld. The asso-        used to its full extent for allotment     out and allotment gardeners picking
ciation was established before 1969        gardening purposes – in accordance        up the hedge trimmers when age or
by combining park and allotment land.      with federal allotment garden provi-      health reasons prevent others from
The result – in addition to providing      sions. The allotment gardeners refrain    doing so.
the benefits inherent in cultivating al-   from using any chemical pesticides
lotments – was to create grounds for       and herbicides.                           In the city-state of Bremen, soil is a
inhabitants from the neighbouring res-                                               highly sought-after commodity, ow-
idential quarter. The pathways lead-       The allotment area borders a primary      ing to its severe limitation. Residential
ing through the association’s territo-     school and a kindergarten, providing      quarters frequently lack open spac-
ry allow pupils and commuters alike        resident children with great outdoor      es and children often have no room
to enjoy a much shorter route to their     experiences, spacious natural areas       for playing and running around. The
everyday environment. A route that is      and a good neighbourhood.                 communal areas of the allotment as-
moreover green in every respect, given                                               sociation „Zur grünen Insel“ comprise
that it does away with vehicles.           Not just the allotment area is firmly     several rambling meadows, which
                                           anchored in the urban neighbourhood       children from the neighbourhood are
The allotment garden area itself is        of Bremen-Horn; the association, re-      welcome to „kick around“ on. The spa-
characterised by an unusual stock of       spectively association life, also has a   cious area also lends itself to walk-
trees seldom found in Bremen’s public      positive impact on its surroundings.      ing man’s best friend and the bench-

                                                                                                   Hyphen 61 | 2017       13

es provide an opportunity for urban      rying out community work and cul-
residents to engage in a chat. And so    tivating her own leased garden. Her
children, mothers, people both young     efforts are appreciated by countless
and old, individuals from different      admiring passers-by.
backgrounds, even senior citizens
come together not just as allotment      The association initiates joint activi-
gardeners; they also live together in    ties, such as the Easter market and
urban neighbourhoods and cross           the Christmas bazaar. There is a Nor-
paths in the allotment site „Zur grü-    dic walking group, a summer and chil-
nen Insel“.                              dren’s festival as well as an organis-
                                         ing team responsible for two events
The care of the common green space       in the FlorAtrium: the Bremen „Day of
is shared by the municipal council of    the Garden“ and the autumn market,
Bremen and the allotment garden ten-     each featuring some 30 exhibitors.
ants. Here there are no maintenance      All these events foster contact with
or upkeep arrears. The sought-after      the residential neighbourhood, with
location of the allotment area has       personal invitations issued and spe-
seen local tenants reach innovative      cific projects created for children and
heights. An example: one allotment       senior citizens, so that nobody feels
gardener planted a bed of May lil-       left out.
ies in a communal green space that
was previously inaccessible due to       In a nutshell: the association com-
shrubs and a potential site for waste    bines an ecologically exemplary cul-
discharge. She cares for this approxi-   tivation of its allocated land with the
mately 500 m2 area in addition to car-   highest level of social commitment.

                                                      Hyphen 61 | 2017      14

The Allotment Park
„De Driehoek“ in Utrecht (NL)
received the diploma
for social activities
                      This association has invested much
                      effort to bring refugees / asylum
                      seekers in contact with a typical
                      Dutch / north European phenomenon:
                      associations and voluntary work. The
                      initiative of the association also drew
                      the attention of our Minister of Social
                      Affairs. In spite of all the bureaucracy
                      De Driehoek pulled through.

                      On Monday 1 February, Minister As-
                      scher (of Social Affairs) paid a work-
                      ing visit to the Organic Allotment Park
                      De Driehoek in Utrecht. The minister
                      wants asylum seekers to be given
                      faster access to volunteer work op-
                      portunities. Until now, the Employees’
                      Insurance Agency (UWV) has required
                      approximately five weeks before issu-
                      ing a decision on permission. The Min-
                      ister wants the time within which the
                      matter is settled to be cut to between
                      one and two weeks. In his opinion, it is
                      vital that refugees quickly be allowed
                      to carry out volunteer work, for exam-
                      ple working in nature or organising
                      games for the elderly. For that reason,
                      he visited the Zuylenstede Residential
                      Care Home in Overvecht and the Allot-
                      ment Park De Driehoek.

                      Since 2014, a number of asylum seek-
                      ers have been spending every Monday
                      morning in the allotment park. After
                      long negotiations with the UWV – sup-
                      ported by the AVVN – formal permis-
                      sion was granted following an initial
                      rejection, and asylum seekers were al-
                      lowed to assist with general mainte-
                      nance (weeding), maintenance of the
                      scrub embankments (pruning) and

                                   Hyphen 61 | 2017       15

helping elderly and infirm gardeners     nuity of service. This means that the     the gardeners.
carry out heavier work (for example      recruitment process is taken out of
sieving and transporting compost to      the hands of the allotment associa-       It is a win-win situation. The asylum
the gardens by wheelbarrow). This        tion. The allotment members are of        seekers are a welcome addition to the
volunteer work for the allotment as-     course responsible for supervising the    short supply of volunteers for main-
sociation is not a form of work that     work at the allotment park.               taining the complex; they help enliven
would otherwise be carried out by                                                  the gardens and offer the allotment
paid employees. Volunteers are not       Generally, when newcomers arrive in       gardeners an opportunity to get to
permitted to be deployed in place of     the morning, they are given a tour of     know and understand the refugees,
paid positions.                          the allotment park. Asylum seekers        in a congenial environment. For the
                                         have little or no knowledge of the al-    asylum seekers, it is a pleasant intro-
The Utrecht Volunteer Agency acts as     lotment system, nor are they general-     duction to a typically Dutch phenom-
the go-between. They recruit interest-   ly conversant with the phenomenon         enon. They make contact with Dutch
ed individuals from the Asylum Seek-     of volunteer work for the public good     nationals, have the feeling that they
ers Centre (AZC) and travel with them    (unpaid work). They are introduced        are doing something useful while
by bicycle right across the city to De   to the gardeners on site and there        awaiting the conclusion of their asy-
Driehoek, and subsequently back to       is an opportunity to communicate in       lum procedure, and can break out of
the AZC. The bicycle guidance task is    Dutch, English, or with hand gestures.    the daily rut and boredom at the Asy-
sometimes taken on by a representa-      After coffee / tea is served, they work   lum Seekers Centre with an enjoyable
tive from the allotment. The asylum      together under the supervision of a       outdoor activity.
seekers know that there is always        small group of allotment gardeners,
someone to greet them at the gate,       and receive instructions on weeding,      It would be excellent if more allot-
and cycle with them. Each month,         raking and pruning. They also learn       ment associations could join forces
if necessary, the Volunteer Agency       the names of fruit and vegetables in      with volunteer agencies to encourage
tries to identify a new group of vol-    Dutch and are occasionally sent home      asylum seekers to work as volunteers
unteers, thereby guaranteeing conti-     with small samples of the produce, by     in their gardens.

                                                                                                Hyphen 61 | 2017      16

History of the Office International
du Coin de Terre et des Jardins
Familiaux 1926 – 2016
4th part        Malou Weirich
The evolution from                         a) Allotments, a means                      Today the vegetable cultivation is
1947 until today                           for material support                        again trendy, both because of the eco-
After 1947 the allotment garden            At the time of the Office’s foundation      nomic crisis and because of people’s
movement had to redefine itself in or-     the allotments mainly aimed at ena-         awareness for healthy food.
der to tackle the new challenges and       bling the workers to cultivate vege-
to take into consideration the changes     tables in order to lighten the family       b) The allotment, a means
in our towns and in society. This evolu-   budget by getting a surplus of food.        for the personal development
tion will now be analysed over several                                                 and for the development
issues of the Hyphen. The topics dis-      This subject of the allotments as pro-      of the families.
cussed, the internal evolution of the      vider of food was up-to-date until the      After the Second World War the allot-
Office and the cooperation with the        Second World War.                           ment was above all a means for the
international organisations with their                                                 personal development and the recon-
successes and problems will be an-         Afterwards the economic aspect of           struction of the families.
alysed.                                    vegetable and fruit cultivation as a
                                           provider of food for the family was         Five congresses, London 1949, Lux-
1) The topics and                          further discussed during the interna-       embourg 1951, Amsterdam 1953, Vi-
areas of concern                           tional congress in Brussels in 1998.        enna 1955 and Brussels 1958 tried to
The subjects that have been dealt with                                                 define people’s new needs and consid-
by the Office and the national federa-     A comparison was made between               ered the social and personal function
tions are based on the societal and        the costs of self-cultivated vegeta-        of the allotments as a main priority.
urban development in Europe: Recon-        bles and the price of these vegeta-         The delegates were of the opinion
struction after the War, boom of the       bles, bought in the supermarket. The        that the contact with the earth ena-
glorious sixties, awareness and sen-       result was that not only the self-culti-    bled people to recover the physical,
sitisation of people for nature and en-    vated vegetables were healthier, but        moral and spiritual balance, which had
vironment protection as well as health     that they were also cheaper. 368 €          been heavily damaged during the war.
to name only these few.                    can be saved per year if you cultivate
                                           your vegetables and don’t need to buy       Two other congresses, Basel 1980
The problems and aims of the federa-       them.                                       and Stockholm 1990, dealt again with
tions were everywhere the same and                                                     the social function of the allotments
on a national and international level      The priorities of the allotment garden      and the social evolution in our soci-
the problems and challenges were           changed, however, slowly shifting           ety. Increasingly the allotment feder-
discussed and dealt with.                  from the material factor to becom-          ations and associations considered
                                           ing a useful leisure time occupation        their mission no more in a restricted
First of all the subjects were dis-        and then afterwards towards nature          manner i. e. limited to their members,
cussed in congress cycles. Later on        and environment protection as well as       but in a much larger way. The focus
seminars and study sessions were           towards a sustainable development.          was on laying out the allotment sites
introduced in order to intensively pre-    The intensity of this shift was different   and on creating activities so that chil-
pare the congress subject so as to be      from federation to federation. The so-      dren, disabled people, the elderly and
able to finalise the discussions during    cial function of the allotment garden       immigrants could be integrated on the
the coming congress.                       movement and the problems related           allotment sites.
                                           to it were, however, not neglected.

                                                                                                     Hyphen 61 | 2017      17

A social diploma was created by the        the free time resulting from this, was      that the allotments had to play a role
Office in 2010 in order to recognise all   well used. In the congress resolution       in this urban development.
these efforts, to reward the allotment     it was stipulated that the possibility to
gardeners and to motivate others to        cultivate a garden was an ideal means       Therefore, the allotment sites through-
realise similar projects. A brochure       in order to use the free time meaning-      out Europe were opened all day long
entitled: „the social responsibility of    fully and so to improve the moral and       in order to share our green oasis with
the allotment gardeners“ as well as        physical health of the population.          other citizens. The allotments could
two brochures dealing with the topic                                                   no more exclusively serve the allot-
„Allotments and children“ were pub-        This topic was afterwards discussed         ment gardeners. They had to make
lished.                                    again during the congresses in Gene-        a contribution to the neighbourhood
                                           va in 1961, in Paris in 1963, in Copen-     and society.
c) The allotment, a means                  hagen in 1965, in Birmingham in 1976
for a meaningful leisure                   and in Brussels in 1982.                    The congresses in Luxembourg in
time occupation                                                                        1967, in Stockholm in 1970 and in Vi-
When the working time was greatly re-      Also today the problem of a mean-           enna in 1972 required the taking into
duced and the leisure time society be-     ingful leisure time is not completely       consideration of allotments as urban
gan, the International Office was one      solved. People have more and more –         green areas and required the recogni-
of the first organisations on interna-     deliberately or not deliberately – free     tion of this new function of the allot-
tional level to deal with this problem     time. The offers, on how to occupy          ments. The consequence of this was
and to analyse it as a whole.              oneself during this free time are con-      that the allotment gardeners became
                                           stantly increasing. However, are they       aware that they had to protect nature
Father Lemire already acknowledged         all in the interest of people? Does not     and the environment in the urban area.
during the congress in 1927 that the       the essence of a person consist in the      A link between the contribution of the
legislator had to intervene in order to    possibility to take up initiatives one-     allotments for a humane and natural
liberate the worker of the very bad        self, to freely create something one-       environment in towns was created
working conditions, the continuation       self? Is the allotment garden not still     and was developed over the follow-
and the hardship of which made them        today a means to enable a person to         ing years.
tyrannical for the workers. The eight      fully develop his personality during his
hour working day and the forty hour        free time and this according to what        Despite the fact that in several coun-
week as well as the obligatory pen-        he thinks best fits?                        tries the allotment gardens are part
sions were introduced. So, the leisure                                                 of the town planning schemes, they
time was created and one had to find       Is not the development of new forms         are, however, not everywhere an inte-
means in order to use it in a mean-        of gardens (Community Gardens, In-          grated element of the urban green in-
ingful way. Sport, leisure time occupa-    tercultural Gardens) the proof that the     frastructures. All the federations are
tions, continuous education etc were       social potential of the allotments is       convinced of the importance of this
mentioned.                                 not yet fully recognised and not ful-       problem and this subject has to be
                                           ly used?                                    discussed together, for example dur-
These different possibilities to use the                                               ing the preparation for the internation-
free time were adequate for some, but      d) The allotments, an                       al congress to be organised in Germa-
not for all. The allotment gardeners       urban green zone and a                      ny in 2021.
were convinced that the allotment          necessary element of the
garden was the only possibility for a      town green infrastructures                  e) The allotment, a
meaningful leisure time occupation,        Father Lemire already wrote down ide-       means for nature and
which was adequate for all. In the al-     as concerning the subject of „Worker        environment protection
lotment the person can in fact recover     gardens and Urbanism“ in 1920.              Already during the congress in Am-
his free personality.                                                                  sterdam in 1974 it was acknowledged
                                           In the 60s the quick development of         that the allotment garden is stimulat-
This subject was discussed for the         big cities started with their skyscrap-     ing an active contact with nature and
first time during the congress in          ers and the risk of people to feel suf-     is an irreplaceable space to sensitise
Dortmund in 1959. At the end of this       focated by concrete and asphalt.            children for nature. However, also
congress an urgent appeal was ad-          All open spaces disappeared due to          adults have to be acquainted with
dressed to the national authorities.       construction and the cost of land in-       the facts, the new requirements and
The delegates underlined that the re-      creased. But despite all this, green        knowledge concerning nature and en-
duction of the working time could only     zones had to be safeguarded in the          vironment protection. If already gov-
be a step towards social progress if       towns. Very quickly one recognised          ernment counsellor Bielefeld reported

                                                                                                    Hyphen 61 | 2017       18

that in 1910 professional gardening        spectful of nature. It was financially     ations’ gardening advisers should be
advisers came to the allotment sites       supported by the European Union, the       created.
during the evenings in order to inform     Council of Europe and the Luxembour-
the allotment gardeners on an ade-         gish government in order to stimulate      f) Allotment gardens, an
quate fertilisation and to give them       the efforts of the allotment gardeners     element of urban gardening
advice on gardening cultivation, it is     to garden in an ecological way and to      Garden plots are appearing every-
today even more important that the         give them suggestions.                     where. Urban Gardening is considered
modern gardening advisers are best                                                    a panacea, a proof, if still necessary,
trained and acquainted with the new        The Office additionally published a Va-    that people need the contact with the
necessary subjects of gardening ad-        demecum on bees on allotment gar-          earth, the garden. Allotment gardens
vice in order to be able to inform the     den sites in 2013.                         are, however, often considered first
allotment gardeners in an optimal way                                                 to be closed down if construction
on the new requirements.                   A diploma for an ecological gardening      grounds are needed.
                                           was also created in 1996 in order to
The congresses in Paris in 1986, The       support the efforts of the allotment       Since the end of the 19th century al-
Hague 1992, Dresden 1996 and Lau-          gardeners and to stimulate them. Up        lotments have been laid out in towns
sanne 2000 dealt above all with the        to now 56 diplomas have been award-        among other reasons in order to re-
subjects of nature and environment         ed.                                        store people’s contact with earth that
protection and a sustainable devel-                                                   had been lost. They enable still today
opment.                                    Additionally, new challenges have to       contacts between people, provide
                                           be faced. The subject concerning gar-      healthy food to the allotment garden-
The allotment gardeners were, on           dening advice was discussed during         ers …
one hand, conscious that a garden-         the international congress in Vienna in
ing respectful of nature would give        2016. It has to be organised in such       For a long time allotment gardens
them healthy food and was a reme-          a way as to embrace all the new as-        have been increasingly cultivated all
dy to the food scandals that regularly     pects and to support the allotment         over Europe in a nature friendly way,
appeared. They, however, on the oth-       gardeners so that all the requirements     pesticides are banished and the rules
er hand, were also conscious of their      of an optimal nature and environment       on a sustainable development are ap-
responsibility to contribute to a sus-     protection can be observed.                plied.
tainable development through a gar-
dening respectful of nature and en-        Subjects as for example sewage, pro-       And despite all this, they are easily for-
vironment. It was without any doubt        tection of ground water, economical        gotten, overseen.
that a gardening respectful of nature      use of water, waste separation and
constituted a possibility to safeguard     waste prevention as well as safe-          Are allotments than no element of Ur-
biodiversity in the urban areas. It has    guarding of green spaces in the ur-        ban Gardening?
to be underlined that a German study,      ban areas to improve the quality of
worked out in 2008, proved that one        air have to be included.                   On the contrary allotments should be
can find 59 varieties of fruit in allot-                                              considered as the most sustainable
ment gardens whereas there exist           Gardening advice has additionally to       form of Urban Gardening.
only 30 in the professional cultiva-       include the general topics as for ex-
tion and 114 varieties of vegetables       ample integration, sensitization of        The problem concerning Urban Gar-
whereas there are only 35 varieties        children for nature etc.                   dening was already discussed during
in the professional cultivation. The                                                  the Office general assemblies. We
comparison of ornamental plants is         The resolution adopted in Vienna stip-     have to adopt the correct position
as well much more positive in the al-      ulated that additionally to the existing   in this area for the future, work out a
lotment garden. In fact, per 100 sqm       guidelines, the Office should work out     common strategy and make our voice
you find an average of 22,4 plants in      a new module of expert gardening           heard.
the allotment garden but only 0,5 in       advice. It should deal with advanced
public parks.                              training measures considering sus-         g) Legal protection
                                           tainability. It should be formulated in    of allotments
Currently a similar study is being car-    such a way that it can be adopted ac-      In order for the allotment gardeners to
ried out in Vienna.                        cording to the different national ne-      be able to realize all the above men-
                                           cessities.                                 tioned functions, be it the material,
Already in 1994 the Office issued a                                                   social, town planning or nature and
brochure on a gardening that is re-        Furthermore, a network of the feder-       environment protection functions,

                                                                                                    Hyphen 61 | 2017        19

the allotments have to be legally pro-      well as in the town planning schemes.      dens …). The allotment garden sites
tected (congresses 1961, 1963, 1965,        Later this problem was once more dis-      have to be in the focus of the author-
1976, 1982 and 1986) and be included        cussed during the congresses in York       ities. The authorities and the popula-
in the urban planning schemes.              in 2002 and Lyon in 2005.                  tion have to realize the value of the
                                                                                       allotments for all.
This subject was and still is today a       Today the legal protection of allot-
current problem. It has been of con-        ments and their integration into town      The allotment garden has to contin-
cern for the allotment federations and      planning schemes is not yet given          ue to evolve and innovations have to
the Office since their foundation until     everywhere.                                take place. The allotments must at-
today. Especially the congresses in                                                    tract the attention of the authorities,
Copenhagen in 1984 and in Vienna in         While fighting for every piece of          the population and the media on them
1994 dealt with this subject. The Of-       ground, we have to look for addition-      with their new layout and with the pro-
fice could put the translations of the      al methods to protect the allotments,      jects that are carried out. Innovative
existing legislations at the disposal       for example the recognition of the al-     projects have already been surveyed
of all the federations. Whereas the ef-     lotments as ecological compensation        and put at the disposal of the federa-
forts to get a general allotment garden     grounds, the integration into cultural     tions. They have now to be spread and
law were successful in Denmark, this        itineraries etc.                           further developed.
was not so in Luxembourg. In Poland
after the political changes the exist-      h) Focus on allotments                     The allotment gardeners have on
ing legislation was modified several        The congresses in Cracow in 2008,          all levels to take increasingly part
times and the situation seems not yet       Copenhagen in 2011 and Utrecht in          in scientific studies (as for example
to be definitively settled. In Slovakia a   2014 dealt with the future of the allot-   COST). Scientists analyse the allot-
law was adopted which is, however,          ments and the question: How can we         ment movement in a critical way. We
not favourable for the federation. Cur-     lay out attractive allotment gardens       have to take part, to give them the
rently there are again discussions in       and position them in a future orien-       correct information and help to ban-
the Czech Republic in order to adopt        tated way in a society where every         ish clichés. But we also have to react
a new general allotment garden law.         piece of land is coveted by so many        to justified criticism and to improve
                                            people? It is clear – as it had already    our allotments.
The Office discussed the problem            been acknowledged during the previ-
concerning town planning in Vienna          ous congresses – that the allotment        Our aim must be, to be recognized
in 1972 and in Amsterdam in 1974.           garden sites can no more exclusive-        over the next years as the most sus-
These congresses requested among            ly serve the allotment gardeners, but      tainable and possibly the cheapest
others that the allotment gardens           have to be part of the public green,       form of Urban Gardening. We have to
should be integrated in the town plan-      have to be opened for the neighbours       consider the new trends in order that
ning schemes in order to guarantee          and other people of our society. The       the coming generations can also in
their protection. They requested that       allotment gardeners have to contrib-       the future have the opportunity to get
the local authorities should be obliged     ute with their projects to the general     an allotment.
to give an adequate place to allotment      well-being (sensitization of children
gardens in the planned green areas as       for nature, food banks, school gar-                                  To be followed

                                                                                                   Hyphen 61 | 2017       20

The situation in Switzerland
and the related services
offered by the Swiss
allotment federation
to its members
Walter Schaffner
former president of the Swiss Allotment Federation

In Switzerland, the urbanization was       biodiversity. Sometimes certain spe-       that do not place specific demands
rather hesitant until the middle of the    cies find here a substitute for habitats   on their habitat. Non-locals and par-
20th century, but it was all the more      that have otherwise disappeared from       tially invasive species, so-called neo-
rapid afterwards. Today three quarters     the landscape. In the city of Zurich,      phytes or neo-oozes, often find par-
of the Swiss population lives in urban     for example, there are 1,200 species       ticularly favourable living conditions
areas. Since 1970 the built-up area        of wild-growing ferns and flowering        in the settlement area.
has almost doubled, and still about        plants i. e. 40 % of all species to be
one square meter of ground is cov-         found in Switzerland.                      The settlement area is both a danger
ered per second. As a result, agricul-                                                and an opportunity for biodiversity.
tural land is lost, natural habitats are   More than elsewhere, biodiversity in       With differentiated and well-planned
destroyed or cut into small fragments      the settlement area is subject to hu-      measures in agglomerations, cities
and many species are endangered.           man influence. Technical innovations,      and villages, a considerable part of
                                           new building materials and construc-       our flora and fauna can be preserved,
The settlement area is, however, also      tion methods as well as changes in         promoted and in some cases protect-
habitat for animals and plants: set-       use of individual zones can very quick-    ed from extinction. Research shows
tlements with nature friendly green        ly lead to the disappearance of indi-      that many of the objectives of biodi-
areas and many structural elements         vidual species. Current urbanization       versity promotion are compatible with
can accommodate a surprisingly high        favours adaptive and mobile species        the demands of the population. In ad-

                                                                                                   Hyphen 61 | 2017      21

dition, attractive species used as sign   the cities, the allotment areas are un-
boards can increase acceptance for a      der pressure. Many allotment sites are
biodiversity – friendly design of urban   leased as an in between use in order
green spaces.                             to be later used as building grounds
                                          as they are located in the building
Biodiversity Strategy Switzerland and     zone. However, compacted construc-
the Action Plan:                          tion should still preserve green zones
                                          in the residential areas and here is
1)   Sustainable use of biodiversity      the balancing act between planners
                                          and politicians. The residential quar-
2) Creation of an ecological              ters are above all affected by this up-
    infrastructure                        heaval, as new gardens are then built
                                          on the outskirts of the cities. Is this
3) Improving the status of national       meaningful?
     priority species
                                          We are clearly aware that the new
4) Preserving and promoting genetic       housing policy, which is necessary,
     diversity                            requires a compacter building, espe-
                                          cially vertically, in order to keep green
5) Review of financial incentives         spaces to preserve biodiversity and
                                          the diversity of species.
6) Collection of ecosystem services
                                          The Swiss Family Garden Federation
7) Generation and distribution of         tries to maintain a close contact with
    knowledge                             the politicians and tries to get involved
                                          in the revision procedures of the spa-
8) Promoting biodiversity in              tial planning regulations. It is only
     settlement areas                     in this way that we can propose our
                                          ideas and not only when everything
9) Reinforcement of international         has already been decided and deter-
    engagement                            mined. In two cities, votes were also
                                          held concerning the building on al-
10) Monitoring changes in                 lotment sites. Unfortunately, despite
    biodiversity                          all our efforts to influence this cam-
                                          paign, both votes were lost. In other
The following main objective has to       words, this means the construction
be achieved with the ten mentioned        projects can be realized and more
objectives:                               than 300 plots will disappear. In the
                                          city of Zurich, around 500 plots will
                                          disappear for school buildings and
„Biodiversity is rich and responsive to   housing constructions over the next
change. Biodiversity and ecosystem        five years. We hope that a double aim
services are sustained in the long        can be reached, i. e. the preservation
term“.                                    of biodiversity and the allotment sites
                                          together with the creation of the set-
With the revision of the town planning,   tlement projects.
especially in the settlement area of​​

                                                       Hyphen 61 | 2017       22

Allotment gardeners’
contribution towards saving
a good working soil
Peter Paschke
president of the BDG

Describing soil in a simple way is not       quarter of all living species on earth.     ban areas – i. e. inhabited areas.
an easy task, because if you hold soil       Soil and its inhabitants are a compo-       These areas are characterised by
in your hands, you won’t notice its var-     nent of essential circuits for nature’s     dense soil, a considerable degree of
ious qualities at a first glance. Many       balance, such as metabolism and the         cementing and high pollution. There-
things remain hidden in its dark mass.       balance of energy and water in all eco-     fore allotment gardens have a special
We aren’t aware of many of its ele-          systems. Thanks to its qualities as a       purpose in densely populated areas,
ments. Only an in-depth analysis can         filter and buffer zone, soil is extremely   because the soil used for horticultural
allow us to discover its numerous            important, especially for the protec-       purposes fulfils its primary functions
qualities. And in spite of everything,       tion of the ground water.                   as water storage and a source of nour-
soil is the substance of human exist-                                                    ishment. It also forms a habitat for an-
ence – our life.                             The United Nations proclaimed 2015          imals and plants.
                                             to be the international year of soils.
Soils are a very complex group, made         The 5th of December is world soil day.      And it is only in these precise plac-
up of mineral elements and organic           Germany is one of the richest coun-         es that soil can fulfil its purpose. It is
substances. They store water and             tries in the world, whilst also having a    obvious that the new trend towards
carbon. Soil shelters very precious          good attitude towards farming. Due          urban gardening must be appreciat-
biotopes and can also be used for            to the western way of living, we use        ed. More and more people recognise
agricultural, forestry and additionally      more agricultural land per person than      the value of greenery in cities and the
horticultural purposes. At the same          the average worldwide availability per      joy of growing one’s own produce. But
time it shelters a large number of           person. This is why we have a huge re-      what is the point of tomatoes grown in
living organisms: micro-organisms,           sponsibility to protect the land.           barrels or trays, marigolds in barrows
plants and animals. Currently we have                                                    or potatoes in blue bin bags? These
only identified around 1 % of species        Protecting allotment gardens means          probably do very little to help the soil.
living within the soil, but scientists es-   protecting the soil. Why? Allotment         In trays and containers, plants grow
timate that soil harbours more than a        gardens are above all situated in ur-       off substrates, industrial produce,

                                                                                                      Hyphen 61 | 2017        23

wrapped up in plastic that can be eas-      eration regarding the environmental
ily bought in discount supermarkets         value of allotments.
or gardening centres. Soil in contain-
ers doesn’t povide any surface water;       The issue of soil is fundamentally im-
it offers even less habitat for species     portant for allotments and the suc-
living within it. The soil in question      cess of their cultivation. Following the
represents a closed system, fragile,        international year of soils in 2015, it
which will quickly topple without hu-       is clear that we must approach this
man care. At the end of the season,         problem more deeply. The German al-
the trays and containers are emptied        lotment garden federation has there-
and next year new products will be          fore created a brochure on this topic.
bought. This certainly does very little     It can be used as part of all interna-
to contribute to a sustainable outlook.     tional allotment garden movement ac-
                                            tivities and should be incorporated in
The situation is very different             the work of all our allotment garden
in an allotment garden:                     federations.
Obviously, on allotments the soil is
worked in order to be able to grow          The soil’s purpose is of primary im-
plants, to achieve harvests and to          portance in inhabited zones and their
relax. It is unquestionable that the        surroundings as a place for cultivation
soil loses a lot of its natural charac-     and balance and for the water cycle.
ter through intensive and continuous        Protecting working soil is an impor-
growing and usage. However, despite         tant element in climate change and
that, the soil has many positive quali-     for the sustainable development of
ties that a transformed soil, especially    towns and cities.
in urban areas, cannot offer, and that
you can sum up with the phrase „soil        On allotments we leave room for
fertility“. Allotment gardeners not only    growth and we are conscious of the
guarantee the soil’s fertility but also     value of the soil; we use and protect
its efficiency as a habitat and reservoir   the soil’s climate function. With allot-
of water and carbon.                        ment gardens we limit the sealing of
                                            surfaces and we contribute to water
This is why allotment gardeners,            management. The soil on allotments
member of the German allotment gar-         is protected against pollution.
den federation have been tending their
gardens in an environmentally friendly      We, the allotment gardeners, are you
way – or at least following good gar-       and I.
dening practice – for a long time. Ac-
cordingly, this personal commitment         By protecting allotments, we all con-
is logically laid out in a memorandum       tribute to the successful protection of
of the German allotment garden fed-         the soil in urban areas.

                                                         Hyphen 61 | 2017      24
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