We were recently invited to a ‘Salwator Spring’ event, and were hugely impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment of the organisers, from the Nausika Foundation, and Salwator Community Garden.
We decided to reciprocate and invited Zbyszek, one of the co-founders and project leaders, to write about the benefits of Community Gardens (ogród społeczny) and to introduce us to the Community Garden or Urban Garden scene in Kraków.
You can read Zbyszek”s article below, and also hear him speak along with representatives of ZZM, on the online event hosted by the Multicultural Centre this evening (Tuesday 15th June) at 7pm on Facebook.
City Matters – ‘Going Green Online Event
Tuesday 15th June 2021
Hi, my name is Zbyszek Janczukowicz, I’m a social gardener in Kraków and I would like to share some basic information and ideas about the Community Gardens.
What are Community Gardens?
🌱 Community gardens are little plots of land in the city released by the Municipality to the habitants upon a formal contract. They are grassroot spots of creativity and social integration, open for neighbors and guests who would like to participate in the non-profit goal of making the public space more personalized.
🌱 Formally, the contract is signed between the Municipality (Zarząd Zieleni Miejskiej w Krakowie) and either an informal group of habitants or a formalized organization (f.e. a local NGO). There are around 20 Community Gardens in Kraków by now, and their number is increasing. The contract is usually not time limited and we – the gardeners – hope that this kind of cooperation will be long lasting.
Why do we care?
The diversity of goals which intersect in a Community Garden makes it hard to get them together on paper, but I will do my best 🙂
🌳 PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH
🌱 Involvement in your own gardening initiative gives you additional motivation to spend more time outdoors.
🌱 Gardening helps to appreciate priceless resources such as free time, knowledge of plants and willingness to work together.
🌳 FOOD PRODUCTION
🌱 Sometimes you collect some crops, which are always delicious regardless of the quantity.
🌱 Seeds can be used freely and shared between the gardeners, which raises the food sustainability and independence from the corporate-based seed regulations.
🌳 SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
🌱 Grassroot revitalization of urban areas is an alternative to mindless private and municipal investments which usually end in distributing concrete over green areas, either vertically or horizontally.
🌱 City garden is a place which can reuse and upcycle wood, stones, litter, chips and other valuable materials that constitute problematic waste in a large city.
🌱 You can’t buy anything in the city garden, which saves you the expenses that you would probably incur while spending your free time in other parts of the city.
🌱 City garden increases its social potential by providing space for educational events, for which in is an attractive, safe and easily accessible environment.
🌱 If connected with a public school, city garden makes a fruitful and low-cost enrichment to the school’s infrastructure.
🌱 Every urban garden should be considered as a playground for adults, in which they play together and develop important social competences, such as: cooperation, negotiation, compromise, social-media, leadership, empathy, responsibility.
🌳 SOCIAL LABORATORY
🌱 Urban gardening combines traditions and plants from different parts of the world (multiculturalism translates into biodiversity).
🌱 City garden is a meeting point for people of various origin and wealth, who would otherwise not find each other in the hierarchical space of the city.
🌱 It’s a chance to re-open trust relations between residents and municipality.
🌱 It’s an experiment aimed to find a “third option” between the unfortunate dichotomy of the Public and the Private, which has to be overcome in the face of the upcoming climate catastrophe and other global challenges.
Links and contacts
Facebook fanpage of Nausika Educational Foundation, which is financing the Salwator Garden from the funds of European Solidarity Corps and taking care for the educational and social aspects of the garden community. Also involved in various European projects focused on urban gardens and transition towns.
About the author, Zbyszek Janczukowicz :
I am the founder of Nausika Educational Foundation, a little NGO in which I’m working in a mix of roles from book-keeper and manager of european projects to game-designer, culture animator and gardener. The last role is my favourite, as it gives me the opportunity for outdoor work with soil and plants, as well as with people who eagerly join the social experiment of sharing a little piece of land together.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions, acquaintances and challenges 🙂