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Interview with Phil Gomersall, President of the National Allotment Society,
in "The Yorkshire Post"

In this article worth reading, as part of the National Gardening Week, Phil Gomersall reports on the appeal of allotments. 

In his unique way, he describes both his personal experiences that led him to his passion and the question of what makes gardening so special.
He emphasises the social and ecological aspects that lead to an increasing interest in new allotment garden plots.

Phil Gomersall, president of the National Allotment Society,
on his plot in Rawdon. Picture: Simon Hulme

Read the full article here and let yourself be infected by this passion.

Appeal of allotments as Leeds waiting lists grow: They're the 'best thing since sliced bread'
By Ruby Kitchen, The Yorkshire Post, 5 May 2022

National Gardening Week (2-8 May 2022)

World Bee Day 2022

Call from the Fédération Internationale des Jardins Familiaux and its affiliated federations upon all allotment gardeners at the occasion of the World Bee Day on 20th May 2022.

World Bee Day was celebrated for the first time in 2018. It can be traced back to the Slovenian World Bee Day initiative, which was launched in 2014. The date of 20th May was chosen because it was the birthday of Anton Janša, Slovenian master beekeeper under Maria Theresa. In the course of his work, Janša became a respected expert on bees and is considered a pioneer of beekeeping.

Why are bees so important for us?
Without bees, we would have a massive food problem, as around 75% of our food crops rely on bees for pollination.
But not only our nutrition, also our health would be affected without bees, as the pollination of medicinally used plants would not be given either.

Why are bees so threatened?
There are many reasons for bee mortality and it is probably the interplay of many factors that has caused the situation to deteriorate so drastically in recent years. One reason is the excessive agriculture in monocultures, which deprives the bees of food. Even the edges of fields are no longer provided with flowering plants. The use of pesticides in agriculture also kills not only the pests it controls, but also beneficial insects such as bees. Another problem is found in cities, where bees no longer find food, but only sealed surfaces and tidy concrete deserts instead of flowering meadows and diverse gardens. This also leads to wild bees no longer finding nesting sites.

What can we allotment gardeners do?
Our allotment gardens are often located in the middle of densely built-up urban areas, the best prerequisite for actively supporting and promoting bees.

• Let us plant wild flowers and herbs to provide food for bees and other beneficial organisms!
• Let's (continue to) not use pesticides!
• Let's create nesting sites with dead wood, dry stone walls and open ground to provide suitable nesting sites
for wild bees as well!

It doesn't take much to make your own contribution to supporting bees and other beneficial insects. And quite incidentally, with these relatively simple measures we also increase the biodiversity in our allotment gardens at the same time and thus contribute to keeping our cities liveable. Our allotment gardens remain places of biodiversity, retreats for animals and plants of all kinds and thus secure their high status in society.

The Fédération Internationale and its member federations call on all 2 million allotment garden families who are part of this federation to contribute together to the preservation and promotion of bees, beneficial insects of all kinds and in general to the preservation of biodiversity in allotment gardens and thus to maintain an environment worth living in for our children and our children's children.

Garden Days of Beervelde

Tuinhier VZW has participated on the garden days in Beervelde from May 6th to may 8th 2022. The jury found our exhibition stand tasteful decored and rewarded our stand with a golden metal.

Thanks to all volunteers for helping during the days of the exhibition and realizing of the beautiful stand. Special thanks to Bart Verelst, Leentje Grillaert, Jan De Simpelaere. Thanks to Renaud de Kerchove for the invitation.

We will participate in octobre's edition.


Vienna Allotment Garden Fair 2022

After two years the 18th Vienna Allotment Garden Fair could again take place on the usual spring date. From 29 April to 1 May the "Blumengärten Hirschstetten" (Flower Gardens Hirschstetten) and the organiser EvOTION welcomed numerous allotment garden friends. In good weather conditions almost 100 exhibitors offered their products and services as well as extensive advice.

The official opening took place on Friday at noon by Mayor Dr. Michael Ludwig. Under the moderation of the organiser Klaus Ranger, the host, City Garden Director Ing. Rainer Weisgram, as well as municipal councillor Mag. Gerhard Spitzer and district head Ernst Nevrivy, wished the exhibitors much success and the visitors a pleasant time.

In his speech, Mayor Dr Michael Ludwig pointed out the great importance of allotment gardens for the urban climate and their important contribution to increasing biodiversity. The mayor, who is an allotment gardener himself, visited the exhibitors afterwards and showed great interest.

In addition to the topics of planning, construction and renovation, the focus was on garden design, suitable with the location.

Those exhibitors, where visitors could find out about the latest trends and innovations in energy and heating, were particularly well attended. The stands giving advice on plant protection and natural gardening were also very popular.

The central federation of allotment gardeners of Austria and the regional federation of Vienna were again fully represented after two years of pandemic. The ladies of the Women’s Expert Group Floridsdorf sold their home-made products from their own garden for a good cause. The expert advisors shared their knowledge with the visitors. Of course, many questions about allotment gardening were answered. Not surprisingly, also this year, the most frequent question was: "How do I get an allotment garden? ".

Parallel to the fair, visitors could taste and consume to their heart's content at 22 stations on the „Genussmeile“ (Enjoyment Mile). Thus fortified, many visitors took the opportunity to stroll through the beautiful themed gardens.

A political success - Allotment garden sites in the Federal Nature Conservation Act

The amendment to the Federal Nature Conservation Act came into force on 1 March 2022. The efforts of the Federation of German Allotment Gardeners and the regional federations as well as other supporters have paid off. The amendment to the law makes clear the great importance attached to allotment garden sites for the protection of nature and the maintenance of the landscape. According to § 1 (6) BNatSchG, in addition to other open spaces in the "settled and near-settled area", allotment garden sites are now to be "preserved and, where they do not exist in sufficient quantity and quality, to be newly created or developed".

What does this mean for the protection of allotment garden areas?

Thanks to the new legislation, allotment gardens get a boost, for example, when it comes to drawing up urban land use plans, because according to the building code, the interests of environmental protection and nature conservation have to be taken into account. This is a great success. At the same time, however, in individual cases it will have to be weighed up legally to what extent individual allotment gardens should be preserved, especially in comparison with other open spaces worthy of protection. It is up to all of us to ensure that an allotment garden site stands up to critical scrutiny.

As the representative of a good 900,000 allotment gardeners throughout Germany, the BDG never tires of making it clear at federal level how allotment gardens to this day combine the concerns of environmental protection, nature conservation and health protection as well as environmental justice, integration and education like hardly any other use of green space.

Allotment gardening in the sense of ecological or near-natural garden management shows how nature conservation and growing one's own fruit and vegetables are compatible. There are many good examples of nature conservation in allotment garden associations throughout Germany, as shown by certifications and allotment garden competitions, including the federal competition "Gardens in Urban Development", which will be held for the 25th time in 2022. Education and expert advice, cooperative partnerships with local authorities, schools, nature conservation organisations and other social groups and, last but not least, the political representation of the allotment garden movement on the part of the federations are also essential.

We make the added value of our allotment gardens for society and the protection of biodiversity, especially the diversity of cultivated plants, visible to all. The new federal law for the protection of nature thus offers us a great opportunity when it comes to the future protection and development of allotment garden sites!

Eva Foos, BDG
Picture: T. Wagner

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