The project

Referring to the unofficial twinnings that reflect Berlin’s current immigrant population instead of the official equivalents of the city, the project explores the city’s long tradition of urban horticulture and reveals ideas of health in the widest sense: as balance and imbalance as well as on a societal and personal level, looking at how people navigate and share resources within a city.

giovedì 5 maggio 2011

Berliner Allmende-Kontor

a new project in berlin

severin halder mounting the banner
I started gardening at 14, but of course I am not a "real" gardener. I have sudied biology and my thesis on urban agriculture in Rio de Janeiro where I was working with an Ong, however gardening is just one side for me. The social side is more important. Unfortunately we have not people with immigrant backgrounds that joined the project yet, but we have just started. We have to manage to involve people of the sorrounding areas. There are a lot of them from Turkey, Eastern Europe or Arabian countries that have a great knowledge about gardening and for sure had a garden in their Romenia, Anatolia or wherever. They grew up in the countryside and they are going to bring their knowledge in their graves. Of course it happens that you are closer to the people that mirror you, but we have to force ourselves to be more in tough with the others.

Severin Halder

the first plants planted

mila interviewing kristin radix

Plants from the south need more heat and sun. Here in Gemany, for instance, if you want to grow courgettes you have to plant them at home, but you need a good exposition. You have to plant them indoor around february and you can bring them out on april. Salad, onions and potatoes are robust, so you can plant them outdoor when you wish, end of march, april, may. Just the experience let you know when they are ready, for this reason elders have much more knowledge than youngers as they have benn in touch with the ecosystem longer.

carrying tools for gardening
Together with other 20 people, I am in the  organization of Allmende-Kontor, then there are almost other 20 people who help us and other 100 who are interested in and signed to join our meetings. We have just started but we have a contract for 3 years and we got 5000 mq2, so it is a very long and big process... and the starting is quite difficult as we have to  carry everything: soil, wood, boxes and cannot leave anything in the night for the vandalism.
Kristin Radix
severin pointing the first pees

malte zacharias
These are cauliflowers even if they have been just seeded and you cannot see them. For these reason we put these little sticks, to have an orientation and understand where the plants will grow. Inside the soil you always have a lot of different kinds of seeds, so you have to know which plants support and get rid of the weeds.
The canvas instead  - that has to be putted all inside the case - is to avoid the soil going out, as soil is so expensive and we already have to pay a rent for this area (1 euro for 1 meter, so 5000 euro for year), so we really cannot waste it.
Severin Halder

on the right, Elisabeth Meyer-Renschausen

the soil
I like gardening because everyone can learn just thanks to the experience. Nowadays all of us have to be experts in everything before doing it. But it is not true. You can learn just trying and experimenting and it is easy. In one day you can learn how to repair you bike, for istance. So you can be indipendent for food and transport and it is a lot! You feel so powerfull.


Gardening to me is mostly pushing garden movements. I wish to promote social issues through gardening. Social and political. We have to be coinscious of what we eat and need. We import so much even if it is possible that you grow your own things. This kind of lifestyle is not working. It is just for few people at the highest prices. And what you plant taste so different, even from organic food. I do not care about labeling (organic or not) but I make difference between good quality and not. I think that Italian granmothers going to the markets are conscious of which is a tasty tomato and which not. In Germany we cannot recognize it anymore. Going to the markets in Berlin is bohemian and expensive.
Severin Halder 

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