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Re: c.g. or allotment?

  • Subject: Re: [cg] c.g. or allotment?
  • From: adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2005 19:01:23 -0400

While there has always been urban gardening in both the new and old worlds, European style allotment gardens, and the allotment gardening movement really dates in large part to the middle of the 19th Century as a type of social engineering -
 
To explain: After 1848, the reactionary powers that took back control from the Paris Commune ( and shot the smooth handed intellectuals who had started the trouble)  realized that unless they could keep hungry  rural men who had come to the cities to work in factories out of the saloons and cafe(s where they could be politicized by intellectual radicals) 1848 could happen again. 
 
So real politik types like Lous Napoleon and Bismarck,with the support of the Church  realized that by creating a social contract of sorts, through the  leasing small plots of land to urban dwellers in allotments, they could keep these former farmers growing food with their families on the outskirts of cities, and not milling around, hungry, in the centers of cities. Allotments, which are always on government owned land, was something that the working stiff enjoyed, and national organizations of allotment gardeners, on separate plots,was more of a family instead of a communal experience.
 
The American Community Garden, while we always have had urban farming in this country, was informed by this European experience, as waves of immigration came to the United States during the 19th and early 20th Centuries.  
 
A wise late 19th Century mayor would offer unused urban land for food gardening to poor folks during the many economic depressions that took place during the the period. The memory of European allotments for immigrants without work for immigrants.  and farming on any spare piece of land for formerly agrarian home grown factory workers filled those early "community gardens," with tillers of the soil until the next exonomic cycle. 
 
When the late 1970's community gardens were started by urban residents taking over feral, abandoned urban lots in cities suffering from divestment, arson, etc. ...it was memories of the WWII Victory gardens, as well as the ecological, "save the earth," consciousness tat informed it. These community gardens were more "communal" instead of individual efforts like the well organized European allotments, which were organized to control workers instead of the self-empowering take-over of abandoned lots that took place in cities all over the US and Canada. 
 
It was quite informative for me, back at NYC 2002 ACGA convention, to meet French Community Gardeners, who had been inspired to set up their community gardens in working class areas of Paris and throughout France, who had been inspired by our efforts on New York City's Lower East Side Gardens, and found the old style European allotment gardens to be something quite different from what they were doing - Jardins Communitaires. 
 
 
Best wishes, 
Adam Honigman
Volunteer, 
Clinton Community Garden 
 
-----Original Message-----
From: Kristin Faurest <kfaurest@hotmail.com>
To: community_garden@mallorn.com
Sent: Thu, 28 Jul 2005 09:00:42 +0000
Subject: [cg] c.g. or allotment?


Dear everyone,

I know i can always count on this listserver for brilliant answers, so
here goes. I am in the process of finishing a dissertation on community
gardens, and am trying to come up with an intelligent but simple
explanation of what distinguishes a community garden from a European
allotment. Some distinctions that I have read suggest that the difference
is that allotments are individual parcels and community gardens are not,
but I know that that isn't at all accurate, either. There's no
distinctive socioeconomic group that either serves more than the other,
as far as I know, and European allotment gardens often function as social
centers or to help new immigrants become part of their new home just the
way community gardens do.  

I know that allotment gardens are more government-supported and less of a
bottom-up grassroots effort than community gardens, which is a subtle
difference but the only really consistent distinction I can figure out.

I would be very grateful for anyone's insights. Is the government's role
the only real difference? Or should they be considered two different
entities, or one a subtype of the other?

thank you so much.

best,

Kristin Faurest, Budapest


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______________________________________________________
The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org


To post an e-mail to the list:  community_garden@mallorn.com

To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your subscription:  https://secure.mallorn.com/mailman/listinfo/community_garden





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