Gardening

Urban horticulture in Berlin. Urban gardens in Germany

Hello everybody! In our journey through the urban gardens of the world, today we are going to talk about urban gardening in Berlin. As you know, it is the capital of Germany and one of the sixteen German federal states, located in the northeast of this country. With a population of 3.4 million, Berlin is the most populous city in the country, as well as the second largest city and the fifth largest urban agglomeration among the countries of the European Union.

Berlin is a cultural, artistic and crowded center for all kinds of alternative thoughts. Like the rest of the country, its population is very committed to preserving the environment and organic farming, as we can see in its urban gardens, which we will see below.

TYPES OF URBAN GARDENS IN BERLIN

Kleingärten and Schrebergärten

The Kleingarten or Schrebergarten   defined as land between 200 and 400 m 2 mainly used for horticulture and flower cultivation to consumption,  which must be dedicated to the two – thirds of the less land to grow vegetables. This group constitutes 4.6% of the total surface of Berlin and 12% of the surface of green spaces of the city.

The most remarkable characteristic of the management of the orchards for rent is that the contracts are made between the city ​​council and an association of gardeners ( KleingartenvereineSchrebengartenvereine ) instead of being made directly with individuals. The city council provides the land, creates the water supply system, and other infrastructure related to accessibility and hygiene (such as services or drinking water). The local associations lease the land, divide it into individual parcels, collect the rents, organize the changes of awardees and maintain the common areas.

Each association is independent and self-managed , organizing and grouping itself at different levels: community, district, municipality, region and state.

In Berlin there are a large number of local associations, which are organized in groupings by administrative districts of the city. Its function is the intermediation between local associations and the City Council . As Berlin is both a municipality and a state, these groups form the Landesverband Berlin der Gartenfreunde coordinator , which acts at the regional level, in charge of studying the policies related to orchards, and advising on the general rules of design, leasing, and management. , in addition to publishing a newspaper.

The various regional associations constitute the Bundesverband Deutscher Gartenfreunde (Federal Union of Urban Gardens) , which also belongs to the  Office International du Coin de Terre et des Jardins Familiaux . This international organization has 14 associations from different European countries, and acts as a pressure group in the European Parliament for the conservation of urban gardens.

  • Orchards on railroad land: There are also orchards that do not belong to that group, for example those that come from the railway company, and that are located on land that was reserved for future rail uses. In the 90s the company decided to sell these lands and offer them to the neighbors.
  • Other urban garden projects In Berlin it is especially difficult to trace alternative practices to the kleingärten association structure , as there are a lot of non-formal projects in many districts (community and intercultural initiatives) due to the large number of vacant lots and lots unemployed remaining in the city after unification. However, the urban reform process is very intense and many of these lands are transformed, making the permanence of non-formal orchards difficult.

SOME URBAN ORCHARDS IN BERLIN …

“Interkulturelle Nachbarschaftsgärten am Mariannenplatz” (Intercultural Neighborhood Gardens at Mariannenplatz)

It is an urban orchard that stands on Mariannenplatz on the grounds of the Bethanien building , in the Kreuzberg neighborhood . Formed by a group of people who were looking for a growing area as part of the reorganization of the building, an old hospital, and introducing citizen participation. It is part of the “Intercultural Gardens” movement  where immigrants meet local people with the opportunity for cultural exchanges.

Prinzessinnengärten

Community cultivation center in which a great variety of environmental projects are developed. A central activity is environmental education with a focus on sustainable food management (organic farming, urban agriculture, biodiversity , seasonality and regionality, closes resource cycles, healthy eating). Movie afternoons and information talks are also organized on different topics such as sustainable food systems, recycling and reuse or urban nature. Since 2009, they have colonies of bees and each season they hold a workshop on organic beekeeping.

Gärten Rosa Rosae

A community garden of all and for all, in Berlin Friedrischain . It is a public green area where vegetables, fruits and ornamental plants are grown . In addition, it has a meadow space, and even an area for barbecues. Everyone who wants to be part is invited.

Rubëzahl Gemeinschaftsgärten

It is a 600 m2 orchard in the old Tempelholf airport , conceived for the residents of Neukölln. A place for learning having a good time plowing, sowing and harvesting. The fruits and vegetables grow in buckets, wooden boxes and other cultivation containers because the City Council does not allow plantations on land. They are looking for people with ideas and enthusiasm for the integration and improvement of the neighborhood.

Allmende-Kontor

A support network for Berlin’s community gardens  and urban agriculture projects. The network works cooperatively with community gardens, as well as various public and civil initiatives, foundations, research supporters, and the government – in Berlin and throughout Germany.

Since 1989, the abandoned spaces after the fall of the wall have led to the creation of multiple types of urban gardens that have made it possible to reuse these lands to grow healthy food and promote environmental conservation. I hope that the article has been interesting to you, and that if you know any other orchard in Berlin, you will show us.

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