Orchards in Alcobendas. A municipal initiative

Good farmers! How its goes the week? Today we talk about orchards in Alcobendas. We hope that the articles THE GARDEN DURING THE YEAR have helped those who are starting to plan and clarified some help for those who know more. Today, however, I would like to “take you” to a Madrid municipality called Alcobendas, which has some urban-family gardens.

Orchards in Alcobendas

Let’s see what you think!

Where is Alcobendas?

First of all, place yourselves where we are. Alcobendas is a city of about 112,000 inhabitants that is located 15 km north of Madrid. It is a municipality that has important economic importance due to the fact that it connects with the A-1 motorway that connects the center of Madrid with Irún, with two industrial estates; and also by the creation of large shopping centers and business parks. Famous people such as Penélope Cruz or Amaya Valdemoro are from this town in Madrid and since 2007, its mayor is Ignacio García de Vinuesa (PP).

The Menina of Alcobendas

The orchards in Alcobendas

A few weeks ago, we got in touch with the Department of the Environment, who facilitated communication with the Head of the Environment, Félix Carballera, one of the fathers of these orchards. Both accompanied us during the visit to the urban gardens of Alcobendas. Both explained to us that it is an initiative that was born from the mayor himself and that in principle they were going to be family gardens rather than urban gardens, but that finally; Seeing the demand of the residents of Alcobendas, they decided to bet on urban gardens.

The first step that was taken was to look for an ideal location for the orchards and finally they opted for a flat piece of land located under a slope of the motorway and next to the La Vega stream. It is a quiet area and that over the years, the town hall has been recovering. The only inconvenience is the one we talked about at the time in the article URBAN GARDENS: A SPACE TO CULTIVATE GOOD HABITS AND RELATIONSHIPS, that the land where they wanted to build was urban land and it had to be green land. These bureaucratic procedures were solved and finally they could be built.

Therefore, the City Council of Alcobendas made available to the residents the possibility of obtaining one of the 42 properties through competition (there are 44 but two of them belong to the City Council itself) for three years, with the possible extension of another one and at a cost 0, they do not pay water or rent. The condition to be able to participate was to be a resident of Alcobendas and to have been registered for at least three years. The demand exceeded expectations and 263 people participated. In addition, the awards were filtered so that there are farms for people between 18 and 35 years old, for people over 65 years old, for people between 35 and 65 years old and for associations, such as the Social Welfare Board and the Rais Foundation. All of them were able to start enjoying their plot in April this year.

Location map of the orchards of Alcobendas

How can we access the orchards in Alcobendas? As they are?

To access the orchards in Alcobendas we need to be accompanied by one of the users of the orchards since the door has a padlock that each one of them has the key. In addition, each of the users has an identification card, but they can have 6 people registered who are companions of the orchard.

View as soon as you enter the orchards

Once inside the orchards we find a space reserved for urban agriculture that is quite limited but interesting. Inside the enclosure the neighbors have a booth with lockers to store the tools and outside it there is also a fountain where to wash the tools.

Each of the farms are numbered and have a chest where inside it there are two mouths, one for the use of a hose and another to install drip irrigation. It must be said that at the time users were granted their plots, they were given 50 meters of rubber to install the drip.

Plot numbering

The appearance of the orchards is quite good and the truth is that it is nice to see how well it is cared for. In addition, the City Council is quite satisfied with the experience and two other future urban garden projects in Alcobendas are starting to move forward, which are already located in the municipality, such as the Parque de Andalucía and the Parque de Extremadura, although perhaps on this occasion the City Council would participate in a more indirect way due to the financing.

They also want to improve the current facilities by expanding the farm and installing a compost bin.

And the users, what do they think of the urban gardens of Alcobendas?

After the interview with those responsible for the City Council, we were able to speak with some of the users who did not comment that they are quite happy with the experience and that it is an opportunity to learn from the land and to strengthen ties with other users. Self-management is the essence of these orchards in Alcobendas and users can see that when they have doubts they solve them together. Despite this, the neighbors have the possibility of going to the Environment Classroom where they receive a little advice. This classroom is a 5-minute walk from the orchards. The only «buts» that the neighbors have told us is the problems they have had with irrigationThey told us that at some point they have had problems with pressure and in some cases they have created a small flood in their furrows. This has meant discarding the use of the timer and using irrigation manually. And another problem that we have been told is the type of soil that these orchards have, which is a very clayey soil and that some users have solved by adding organic matter to ensure that it is not so compacted. These problems do not cause the neighbors any inconvenience, and they are delighted with the experience. The truth is that it is gratifying to find this opinion from the mouth of the users.

The problem of irrigation in one of the furrows

Well, guys, this is all for the Alcobendas orchards, let’s hope that initiatives of this type continue to be carried out by the town councils.

A hug

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