Allotments in the Avanchets estate, Geneva, Suisse (46°12’N, 6°09’E)
The Earth From Above by Yann Arthus-Bertrand
The first allotments in Europe were established at the end of the 19th century, to give workers the chance to improve their lot. The example was taken up in Switzerland as early as the First World War. Today, the 900,000 Swiss allotments cover 50,000 hectares, the equivalent of 3,000 medium sized farms. Worldwide, there are 800 million amateur farmers in built up areas. In estates in south eastern Asia and some towns in central and South America, many people depend on this activity for survival.
It’s the same story in Europe; in Berlin there are more than 80,000 urban farmers, and in Russia more than 72% of all urban homes till their own patch of land, balcony or even roof. Urban agriculture is on the increase and there could be twice as many people enjoying it within twenty years. However in Switzerland, like everywhere else, urban soil is very polluted and there is a danger of it contaminating the fruit and vegetables grown there.