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Examples of Community gardens


Per.ka, an acronym for “periurban crops”, came to light

in 2011, in order to cultivate an abandoned military site,

social innovation in response to the multiple crises that Greek society is facing and which, increasingly, also is resulting in new forms of municipal policies to support urban agriculture and local food systems.

occupied and transformed into a public park by the

people of northern Thessaloniki. The first Per.ka group began to grow food organically. As more interested people arrived, new groups were formed, composed of

30-40 people who take care of part of the site, demarcat-

ing individual and common plots, and constructing resting and storing spaces. Presently there are 7 Per.ka groups, which makes about 200 people. This collective

project is grounded in cooperation and ecology; they support public land property but also community management. All of the Per.ka groups join in a fort-

nightly assembly where common tasks and activities are decided upon. They also participate in the Movement of

Direct Distribution of Products in Thessaloniki (Anoixto Diktio).

Ellenikó Community Garden. The former Athens airport, located on the southeast coastline of the city, was

supposed to become a metropolitan park, but the crisis stopped this project. A community group conceived an alternative development that could deal with the

environmental, economic, educational and social crisis.

They worked with the university on their proposal, collected signatures in support of the project, and staged a symbolic olive-tree planting on the airport site. The

municipality has lent them a 2,500 m2 area contiguous

to the airport, where they have begun a community garden, diffusion and training activities as well as

traditional seed-giving, supporting garden projects in schools and sharing their products with municipal social kitchens.

Table: Allotments and community gardens, evolution 2008 – 2013

Community gardens

Community gardens have appeared within a context of social protest movements. The first one, in December 2008, was due to the death of a 15-year-old boy shot by the police, in the Athens neighbourhood of Exarchia. This fact set off massive mobilisations throughout the country, and the biggest riots in its recent history (Stavrides, 2010). In Athens we can find examples of community gardens from this first wave, developed by left-wing militant groups in occupied public spaces and facilities: Navarino Park in Exarchia; Votanikos Social Centre, located in a closed municipal greenhouse; and Agros in Tritsi Park. The Square’s Movement in 2011, in response to the austerity policies, and making visible the political and confidence crisis, led to local assemblies that began several projects in the neighbourhoods. New community gardens appeared, sometimes launched by people directly involved or close to the movement, or simply inspired by a new way of coping with big problems. These gardens are created by more diverse and heterogeneous communities, and they have greater social support, but are not without conflict with the local governments. Two projects that illustrate the progress of the movement in different cities are Per.ka and Ellenikó Community Garden (see Box 1).

Maroussi allotment garden. Photo: N Morán and JL Fernández

Urban Agriculture magazine • number 28 • December 2014 • back to contents page

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Urban Agriculture Magazine issue 28  

This issue of the UA magazine highlights innovations in urban agriculture. It features articles on the GROW the City project that brought pi...

Urban Agriculture Magazine issue 28  

This issue of the UA magazine highlights innovations in urban agriculture. It features articles on the GROW the City project that brought pi...

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