Berlin boasts an amazing number and diversity of mutually cultivated space that are used as common or joint land: intercultural gardens, community gardens, self-harvest gardens, guerrilla gardens, school gardens, rooftop gardens and – the smallest of them all – planted tree bases. They pose and answer key questions relating to urban society, in particular with respect to social, cultural and biological diversity, participative urban design, city ecology, supply and consumption, education, movement, nutrition and health, solidarity, integration and civic engagement.
The goal is to establish joint and garden-oriented use of free space in the city and to network the movement on all levels – with administrative and political authorities, as well. The Allmende-Kontor, which is being developed in an ecological manner, will provide advice to activists from the community garden scene and support for new and existing garden initiatives.
A community-developed garden open to the public will grow – literally – around the Kontor and serve to showcase the potential beauty and diversity of urban gardening.
A pool of resources relating to the borrowing of equipment will also be set up. And, as a contribution to biodiversity, the first Berlin seed bank – originating from community gardens – will emerge. This seed bank will preserve and, to a certain extent, flow back into the garden via exchange. The Allmende-Kontor at Tempelhofer Freiheit, in direct vicinity of the Neukölln neighbourhood, will be developed for everyone interested in getting involved with gardening at Tempelhofer Freiheit and in the entire city.
What’s amazing is that the gardens are open to the public and all ages go there to sit, talk, play the guitar, drink beer etc. You’ll see a woman pulling weeds in a gardening smock next to three club kids sharing a bottle of wine next to an older couple, on a bench, watching the sun set.
No one does wild, overgrown, rough-and-ready city gardens like they do in Berlin.
Words and slideshow images by Claire Cottrell