Urban gardening in Krakow
The Krakow Community Gardens is a project that responds to the growing need for city gardens among residents. However, their nature and the way they function are unique. The key concept here is „community".
So what is a community garden?
It is a space that has a community dimension because it is created by residents. This, in turn, indicates its openness. Anyone can be part of the community that creates and uses it. It is a generally accessible place, the nature of which is a response to the needs of the local community. But let's start from the beginning. Who and what is needed to create and function a community garden?
The leader is the key
For the creation and further functioning of a garden, someone who will initiate such an undertaking is needed. There are several possibilities. It can be, for example, a resident who wants to change a piece of urban space. Community gardens can also be established, for example, at District Councils, local activity points or cultural centers. In any case, the leader is very important. He is the driving force behind the first activities, and at a later stage will be able to unite and coordinate them within the principles developed together with the initiative group. Here we come to the second important point. Community garden, as the name suggests, is created by the community, so one person is not enough.
Together as a team
The community character of the garden must be built from the beginning. Therefore, an initiative group (at least 3 people) is important, as it will infect other gardeners-social activists with its commitment and passion for the subject. It can be a circle of friends or neighbors. Or maybe there are more of us? Therefore, it is also important to organize a meeting for everyone potentially interested in creating a garden in a specific location. The community garden is a common, generally accessible space, therefore residents should feel that they can join in its creation and development at every stage. It is a good idea to organize an open meeting, disseminating information, for example through posters or social media, which will allow you to associate as many people as possible who want to contribute to the garden. It must be a place that will naturally fit into the life of the local community, increasing the recreational value of the area. The greater the reach of the information campaign, the better for the newly emerging garden itself.
The key question is also the question of the place where the community garden is to be created. It can be organized on plots owned by the Municipality of Krakow, i.e. those maintained by the Municipal Greenspace Authority. Do you have an idea for a garden? Great, we will help you find an area in your immediate vicinity that meets the above condition. Do you have a pre-selected area? Even better. Plot verification takes only a few minutes. If the site is not owned by the commune, we will jointly consider the choice of the location of the garden. At this point, nothing prevents you from signing a free lending agreement. The contract is signed by the leader, and the other (at least 2 people) gardeners-community workers submit a declaration of membership. The garden is in your hands for one year with the possibility of extension for subsequent years. We believe that green is positively addictive and that the garden will become a permanent part of the awareness of the local community, which will allow for its long-term development.
The most difficult first step. Therefore, we will try to make it as simple as possible with our help. The support we provide is multifaceted. On the one hand, it will be substantive support consisting in the development of a project, appropriate selection of plants to the nature and functions that the garden is to fulfill. On the other hand, we want future gardeners-community workers to have the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of gardening. This will be achieved by regular workshops organized as part of the School of Municipal Gardeners. You will learn about topics such as sowing ornamental plants, harvesting from pots or natural methods of protecting plants against pests. City greenery enthusiasts will also be able to use the knowledge and support of an experienced gardener on an ongoing basis, who will help turn their enthusiasm and willingness into specific activities in the newly created garden. The aid will also have a material dimension. Gardeners will get the so-called a package for a start, i.e. a bench, tools for work or increased discounts. We believe that every garden will be different and will develop its own unique character, which is why the starter package can be individually adapted
Functions, rules and further operation
You decide what character the place you create will be. Will it be a flower, decorative, vegetable or recreational garden? Nothing prevents it from combining various functions. It is important that it responds to your needs as fully as possible, because its success depends on it. It has to be a place where you will be happy to come and where work will give you satisfaction. Community gardens sometimes created in heavily degraded places. It requires much more work at the beginning, but gives a spectacular effect and a greater sense of mission and determination, because it is also the recovery of the city by the inhabitants. An obligatory element accompanying the creation of a garden must also be the development of rules for the functioning of the place and the community that creates it. A garden is primarily a community that creates it and is united around one idea. Therefore, it is worth making the principles of such cooperation clear and acceptable to all creators and users of the place from the very beginning. The functioning of the garden at a later stage is after all a kind of management of it as a whole, which will perform various recreational functions and animate the space for the local community. Birthdays, picnics and neighborhood meetings in a garden that smells of flowers and herbs? Of course. It depends only on you and your creativity. For our part, we will make sure that the Krakow Social Gardens are connected by one idea, have the opportunity to exchange experiences both in the field of gardening and animation of urban space.
So ... let's go!
Leaflet financed by the URBACT III program under the project RU:RBAN Resilient Urban Agriculture