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Urban Agriculture: A True WWII Story from Mannheim, Germany

Stollenwörthweiher community gardens, second largest garden colony in all of Germany. See map here.

My great grandfather said Hitler could just kiss his ass

By Patty Cantrell
Regional Food Solutions
Oct. 5, 2010
Patty Cantrell founded the Michigan Land Use Institute’s entrepreneurial agriculture program in 1998.


My family here in Germany, where I’m visiting this week and next, has a favorite story about my great grandfather, Karl Bader. After already fighting in World War I, he stayed on the home front during the next war, taking care of his wife and two daughters. He did the best he could with a cellar for bomb shelter and a garden for what food they could raise there in the industrial city of Mannheim on the Rhine, one of the most bombed parts of the country during WWII.

In the chaotic last weeks of the war, the Nazi government called on all the older men not yet fighting to take up arms and defend the country. The story goes that my great grandfather said Hitler could just kiss his ass, and he started planting another garden that spring instead.

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October 16, 2010   2 Comments

Report describing urban agriculture activity in Munich, Germany

Guerilla Gärtnerin in Aktion. Photo by Ella von der Haide.

Urbane partizipative Gartenaktivitäten in Munchen 2009 – Participatory Urban Garden Activities in Munich 2009

Places for social interaction, subsistence, participation and the experience of nature

A research paper by Dipl.-Ing. Ella von der Haide
2009. In German
See Ella’s documentary films about community gardens here.


The study is the first inventory of its kind documenting the variety of ‘Urban Participatory Agriculture’ in the City of Munich. The report describes a variety of traditional forms of gardening such as in school and allotment gardens, as well as new innovative forms such as intercultural community gardens and guerilla gardens.

The potential and challenges of the gardens and support for the gardens from an urban planning perspective are outlined.

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July 4, 2010   1 Comment

Gardens as Everyday Culture – an International Comparison Conference May 22nd–24th 2008, Germany


Includes many urban agriculture topics including: City Farming in London; Urban gardens in Buenos Aires; Urban farming – Organiponicos in Santa Clara, Cuba; Gardening at the riverbank in Addis Abeba / Ethiopia; Urban Farming – Gardens in Detroit; and ‘Jardins partagés’ in Paris – urban gardens in the context of sustainable urban planning.

“New gardens of everyday life and use are becoming widespread in cities around Germany and other European countries. Whereas experts still concentrate on traditional types of gardens, changed kinds are emerging, especially joint projects such as ‘International Gardens’ by and for migrants, ‘self-harvesting-gardens’ or vegetable patches in public parks. Phenomena like these are identified as forward-looking elements in urban development which require closer examination.”

See full poster and program here(PDF):

February 12, 2008   Comments Off on Gardens as Everyday Culture – an International Comparison Conference May 22nd–24th 2008, Germany