The International Urban Farming Conference was held at the Heinrich-Böll Foundation in Berlin on 11th and 12th September 2017. It was held by Grüne Liga Berlin and its aim was to facilitate a professional exchange between projects of urban agriculture worldwide and to discuss the political frameworks surrounding urban farming in order to create better urban networks and partnerships for urban agriculture in cities around the world.
The participants from all over the world focused on urban farming initiatives that are supported by municipalities, and on the enhancement of local government partnerships between cities in the Global South and the Global North. Thanks to about 50 projects presented at the conference and a number of lectures, workshops and excursions, the Conference issues contributed in several ways: (1) to highlight the importance of urban agriculture for sustainable urban development as well as for food security and climate protection; (2) to initiate and sustain approaches for social change at the municipal level; (3) to foster equal exchange between the Global South and Global North; (4) to establish new and strengthen existing municipal North-South partnerships.
The focus of the presentations, projects and discussions was on the following points:
Food security and food sovereignty
Climate and environment
Right to the city and access to resources and local economies
Education, empowerment, and training
Bulgarian participation: Mariana Draganova and Galina Koleva, two members of the project team, attended the Conference and presented а Poster on the project info and some photos of urban agriculture initiatives from the Sofia municipality area. You can see examples for community gardens in Germany and Bulgaria here .
More info about the conference click here
Pictures from UA practices visited in Berlin area
In the northwest of Wedding, you will find one the largest Berlin gardening school — Schul-Umwelt-Zentrum Mitte (environment center school in Berlin-Mitte). This municipal school garden offers teachers and students from schools that do not have their own gardens the opportunity to garden with their class on a piece of land for one season. In the 1920s, these garden schools were a core element of the life and education reform movement of that time. After the Second World War, they were mostly used to teach students survival techniques through gardening in the hope that they would transfer this knowledge to their families. These communal garden schools are some of the last surviving schools of their kind in Germany. After the unification of Germany and the reconciliation of the districts, the garden schools in Wedding and Tiergarten were merged into the Schul-Umwelt-Zentrum Mitte (SUZ). In the 1990s, some of the garden schools would have been shut down if it were not for the successful effort of school teacher Helmut Krüger-Danielson, who campaigned to preserve these 12 garden schools in Berlin through the establishment of a support association for the Schul-Umwelt-Zentrum.
The Prinzessinengärten Berlin-Kreuzberg are some of the best known community gardens in Berlin, that cultivate their own vegetables for use by its workers, cafe, and summer kitchen. Prinzessinnengärten (Princess gardens) is launched as a pilot project in the summer of 2009 at Moritzplatz in Berlin Kreuzberg, a site which had been a wasteland for over half a century. Along with friends, activists and neighbours, the group cleared away rubbish, built transportable organic vegetable plots and reaped the first fruits of their labour.
The garden is run as a non-profit limited company, which is not allowed to make any profits, but is allowed to pay its main employees. The garden then offers the neighboring community opportunities to garden with them, and they offer unpaid internships to interested applicants from all over the world. The gardens make their income from the landscaping and consulting services they provide for new schools or backyard gardens as well educational services that they offer for the younger generation. Prinzessinnengärten also offer their gardenhouse for use as a neighborhood academy or as a stage for readings, film screenings, and other events.