The first steps
Since 2010 the Contemporary Architecture Centre has been engaged in the naturalization and distribution of community gardens, which already have decades of tradition in Western Europe and the American continent. The centre has worked out for the movement, which has become mostly self-organized by today, the methodology, legal background and models adaptable to the Hungarian environment. It also supported the development of the cause with education, consultancy and creation of a knowledge base.
The aim of the programme’s first phase (2010-2012) was to realise the concept of community gardens in Hungary, and to broadly distribute and raise awareness of the initiative. We recruited our future gardeners and the followers of our movement through communication channels and free programmes. As the next step, it was indispensable to plan and create in every way exemplary gardens. Seeing the examples overseas and in other European cities (London, Berlin, etc.) we put faith in that the realisation of these gardens would result in a wide social movement. In September 2011, the Lecsós Kert started in the Millenaris Park as part of an awareness raising community programme and in March 2012, after the winter frosts, the plots were distributed.
Since then a lot of communities have created their own gardens following in our footsteps.
Community gardens across the city
KÉK, as a professional partner, has taken part in the creation of several community and school gardens in the capital and in the country, and currently it is running five community gardens.
The Leonardo kert with the support of Futureal, Kerthatár Közösségi Kert and the Csárdás Kert with the help of Magyar Telekom, and Kisdiófa Kert with the cooperation of the local government of Erzsébetváros are expecting city residents who wish to engage in gardening. At the end of 2016 the IBIS garden, opened in the beautiful park of Aero Budapest Hotel, was a true rarity, which was a community initiative, one of its kind.
Our gardens provide gardening opportunities for almost 800 city residents, and in addition, they serve other functions as well: the garden works as a meeting point, a cultural-communal space, and an innovative platform to test and distribute different liveable and sustainable urban equipments, solutions.
Apart from the gardeners working on the plots of our community gardens, every year thousands of people attend the informative, cultural and community developing programmes organized within the project.
The long-term aim of the project is to contribute to the distribution of eco-conscious forms of city usage, and to make concepts relevant to urban sustainability easily comprehensible.
The long-term goal of the Programme is to inform people about and introduce them to different tools and methods that are relevant to society and a liveable city. It is important for urban people to learn to adapt to climate change, so we are looking for city development equipment and methods that apply renewable energy, and we provide space for innovative and experimental models. Through our gardens and public informative programmes, we make concepts like “urban heat islands” and “decrease of biological footprint” more comprehensible for everyone, which is important from the viewpoint of city life. Through our campaigns we would like to share with city residents the knowledge, with the help of which, as conscious city users, they could contribute to the reduction of the harmful effects of climate change, either individually or as part of their local community. Among the programmes for the wider public there are community and professional events, debate forums, lectures and interactive programmes for children.
The network of community gardens
We view organizing the gardens of the country into networks as an important next step in the development of the community gardens project, as well as establishing connection with similar international platforms. Our website, with its renewed content and functionality, is an important instrument for this, and we hope it will not only provide current information about Hungarian community gardens, but also function as a coordinating- and knowledge centre.
We would like to share our knowledge we gathered during the past years, public information and the useful experience of others. We wish to provide a platform where community gardens and their gardeners and people curious about the topic could find each other and become participants of a bigger community.
We believe that the good example of an individual is followable, we contribute to the improvement of the microclimate of our residential area and our city by distributing an environmentally conscious and sustainable lifestyle.