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  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 16 Dec 2004 23:04:48 EST

A brief history of community gardens in England and Europe in general.  Most 
urban areas, as well as rural had a "common," which was un-owned land that 
folks gardened and hunted on, but that from the 16th century on, especially in 
the 19th centuries, the common was enclosed, so there was no land for a poor 
working family to set up a plot to garden on, unless they bought it. 

Then came 1848, and the Paris Commune, where industrial workers from the 
factories hooked up with radical intellectuals to create revolutionary disorder in 
cities. Most of the factory workers were originally farmers whose familes 
were on the edge of starvation. When the Royalists took Paris back, the troops 
shot the smooth handed revolutionaries, as they were seen as having no real 
reason to revolt, but were "traitors to their class," but the hard handed 
worker/farmers were seen as folks to keep out of the cafes and saloons. 

So the system of "Allotment Gardens" was started in Europe as a form of 
social control/a social contract.  The worker was given a small plot of land to 
garden on the outskirts of town, for him and his family to farm, so he and his 
family would work it, instead of engaging in revolutionary politics. 

I'm not kidding about this.  The Brits thought it was a good idea - keep the 
poor http://www.allotments.btinternet.co.uk/buggers out of the pubs and out 
gardening. So most European nations set up allotment gardens as a social benefit 
for citizens. Community Gardens on the North American model are relatively 
new there.  I'm serious - when I've had Europeans come to the Clinton Community 
Garden to learn from us, I scratch my head - because it feels like what we've 
been doing is English Rock and Roll.  

Anyway, here are some links that have phone numbers for you. 

London Community Gardens: http://info.london.on.ca/csd/index.php?viewOrg=67

For more of the the UK, you might want to start off with the Farm and Garden 
folks, http://www.farmgarden.org.uk/ and an allied site of community and 
allotment gardens in the UK. 
http://www.ability.org.uk/community_gardens_in_the_uk.html ,  http://www.allotments.net/ , 

Adam Honigman

>  Date: 12/16/04 10:51:44 PM Mid-Atlantic Standard Time
>  From: michaelm@superiorimaging.com
>  To: Adam36055@aol.com
>  Sent from the Internet 
> Adam
> I serve on the board of P Patch Trust here in Seattle with Barbara Donnette.
> Last night at our monthly board meeting,with all that knowledge base in
> front of me, I had to ask if anyone could point me to Community Gardening
> organizations similar to ours but existing in the UK (where I am spending
> Christmas with my in-laws).  I had mentioned that I had looked at ACGA web
> site, but had not found any email contact info, which Barb kindly provided.
> Today, I somehow didn't get a chance to, so thought I would email you to see
> if you had any ideas.
> I am less interested in the National Trust type gardens, while beautiful are
> more for viewing.  I am more interested in a Victory-type garden network.
> My in-laws are in the West Midlands -Telford, Shropshire, so any contacts in
> Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Coventry, even Nottingham would be terrific. We
> are also staying a couple of days in London, but will be pressed for time
> while in the city.
> We also will spend some time in southern Holland, so any info/web sites etc
> for that country's program would also be great.
> Any help you can provide would be much appreciated.
> With warm regards and thoughts gardening in a drier season,
> Michael McNutt
> michaelm@superiorimaging.com

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