The Bujna Warszawa programme was created in order to support the residents of Warsaw
in establishing and developing community gardens.
The last decade has brought a flourishing of grassroots activities for Warsaw greenery. Thanks to the efforts of many groups of residents, institutions and organizations, spaces as diverse as wastelands, town squares, neglected lawns, park corners, neighbourhood greeneries and allotment gardens have acquired a new social dimension.
In 2017, Warsaw’s Greenery Authority initiated the process of studying the needs of Warsaw gardeners involved in creating community gardens. The purpose of the meetings was primarily to develop solutions that enable the expansion of community gardening in Warsaw.
Conclusions from the workshops served as a basis upon which the framework of the Bujna Warszawa programme was later developed. The Council of Community Gardens was also established, which served as an informal representative body of Warsaw gardeners. The members of the Council participated in the implementation of some parts of the programme, including the assessment of applications of gardening initiatives that applied for support. Thanks to the participation of creators and stewards of Warsaw community gardens, Bujna Warszawa satisfies the needs of various entities that are transforming the city landscape and, from the very beginning, it encourages residents to co-create this change. The participants and creators of the programme are members of informal groups and allotment gardens, as well as cultural institutions and local community centers.
The program evolves year after year so as to meet the changing needs of Warsaw gardeners.
Bujna Warszawa in numbers since 2017
What is a community garden?
Although no precise definition or single model of a community garden has been developed, such gardens do share many characteristics. The most important features are openness and community involvement. Future garden users engage in the process of shaping the space, often at the earliest stage of design; the members of the garden-based community set the rules of use, establish beds and paths, build houses for small and large animals, set up small architecture and garden infrastructure, such as arbors, compost bins or rainwater tanks. The participation of residents in creating a garden largely determines the spirit of these spaces. Gardeners, often relying on second-hand materials, adapting known patterns according to the needs of the local environment and their own preferences, co-create places with an informal, friendly character, in a manner that is halfway between work and play. And they are not only friendly for people. In many community gardens conditions are excellent for wildlife: singing birds, small mammals, melliferous plants and microscopic inhabitants of the soil. Community gardens are also spaces for many activities not strictly related to gardening; educational and cultural events, various workshops, picnics, gatherings, concerts and feasts can all take place in gardens made by the community, for the community.
To learn more about the life of community gardens, take a look at the Bujna Warszawa fanpage.
To find out more about the support that Bujna Warszawa offers, click here (Polish).
The “Onward, allotments” project has launched – accessible allotment gardens are a common cause
Allotment gardens are unique places: enclaves of nature in the city, refuges from the hustle and bustle of urban life, spaces of creative activity. Cooperation between allotment holders and local communities can give the gardens an injection of new energy and provide the people of Warsaw with an opportunity to help create publicly accessible spaces and enjoy their benefits.
The SAM Rozkwit association, in consultation with the Mazovian regional division of the Polish Allotment Federation, is conducting a project of the Green Space Authority for the City of Warsaw entitled “Onward, allotments” which aims to provide access to allotment spaces to the public, to facilitate dialog between allotment holders and local communities, as well as to promote the concept of community gardens.
We would like both groups to see the gardens as a common good and an important part of the city’s green infrastructure. Our initiative intends to demonstrate that the presence of allotment gardens in the city serves to enrich it and stimulates creative thinking about people-friendly urban spaces.
Main goals of the program are:
– to promote allotment gardens – particularly those parts of allotment gardens that are intended for common use for all gardeners and may be used by city inhabitants – and good practices with regards to collective management of space, in cooperation with allotment holders,
– to establish and promote gardens and spaces for collective gardening and recreation: community gardens and other forms of urban gardening,
– to enhance dialog between allotment owners and local inhabitants,
– to change the attitudes of gardeners and local communities towards allotment gardens so that they are treated as a common good, part of green and blue infrastructure of the city, and those who use publicly accessible spaces in the gardens assume the responsibility for them,
– to demonstrate in action that allotment gardens are not inaccessible spaces on which the public has no impact.
Activities organized as part of the program, which will last until the end of November 2019, include: workshops in gardening and crafts, yoga classes, walks underling environmental issues, and inter-generational meetings. The program will present allotments from a new perspective: as accessible to the public, inspiring, diverse spaces for the activities for both local communities and allotment holders.
Parallel to animation activities, selected allotment gardens will also host meetings researching the needs of local communities and allotment holders with regards to garden infrastructure, diagnosing problems and collecting suggestions for solutions – particularly when it comes to common and publicly accessible spaces. Material gathered in the course of the meetings will be used to prepare draft concepts for spatial planning.
We are convinced that accessible and “living” allotments will find their admirers who see them as spaces close to their hearts, imbued with a particular significance.