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On the 6th of February representatives from the community gardens in the city came together for a meeting of the Gartennetzwerk Dresden to exchange news and to make plans for the new season of 2015 .
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On Friday the 6th of February about 14 representatives from the currently 17 different community garden projects and from other urban gardening initiatives met for the first meeting of the Gartennetzwerk Dresden. The Gartennetzwerk Dresden is a loose network of community gardens in the city. Together they grow vegetables, organize practical workshop series and represent the community gardens on the urban political and administration level.
A major theme of the meeting was the (re)creation of shared materials. Right now they are planning a new analog map of Dresden with all existing community gardens in the city. It should be weatherproof and new urban gardens can be added easily to allow for a robust and long-term use. It is professionally made by the dedicated graphic designer and community gardener Gesine Hildebrandt from the urban garden Kleiner Garten.
Hildebrandt is also designing a new flyer for the Gartennetzwerk together with Gregor Scholtyssek, a co-founder of the UFER-Projekte e.V. and the Gartennetzwerk. Each community garden in the city can use this flyer after its completion, thus promote ongoing projects and raise donations.
The website of the Gartennetzwerk Dresden can be used by all the different actors, so that everyone can get an overview of the events and developments in the urban gardening movement.
As in recent years there will be a city wide plant exchange market for vegetable seedlings. The community gardens coordinate which varieties are grown by whom and a seedling swap is organized. Thus, the diversity of vegetable varieties is increased in the gardens and everyone can improve their skills in plant propagation.
For the first time in 2014 the community gardeners Florian Etterer, Sebastian Kaiser and Philip Harms designed and organised a workshop series called Seitentriebe - in English: Offshoots. Seitentriebe comprised practical seminars spread over the year where participants could learn – beyond other things – how to prune fruit trees, improve the soil or preserve the harvest. The workshops took place in the various community gardens of the city. A total of 13 free seminars were offered and hundreds of people came to learn from and, incidentally, connect with each other . Due to its great popularity in the last year, a sequel is planned for 2015. The planning phase begins in late February.
Cooperation at the garden fence
At present, there is a very positive development in the urban garden scene of Dresden. Where three years ago nobody knew the words “community garden” there are now promising collaborations. Connections grew to the City Council of Dresden and the organisation of the allotment holders in town. This new development will be publicly visible at the Dresden Easter Fair end of March, where representatives of the allotment holders and the Gartennetzwerk Dresden will use a booth together.
Community gardens are still sprouting everywhere in the city. Despite the high pressure of the real estate market threatening vacant land in Dresden, new community garden initiatives are emerging. The Mont(strie)sori garden group does have a space available and is looking for other passionate urban gardeners. Meanwhile the group developing a community garden in Gorbitz and the Stadtgärtner a.V. are still looking for a suitable piece of land. The more experienced urban gardeners within the network are helping them out with advice, action and seed.
Many of the participants of this meeting will soon see each other more regularly again at the diverse events planned in the coming season. They will meet – naturally – in the gardens.
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