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A garden can become the meeting point of friends and sympathizers, bringing with it the closeness of nature. It can create an atmosphere of calmness and peace and it offers an opportunity for relaxation and gardening. Here, in Budapest too. In Berlin, Bologna, but over the fairly mountain as well – for sure.
On the 12th October, within the European Union’s HORTIS project, the first Community Garden Day of Budapest took place organised jointly by the Hungarian Horticulture Association and the Faculty of Horticultural Science of the Corvinus University. The Grundkert, the first community garden of the 8th district was chosen as the location of the professional and educational day.
Many of you may associate to something else upon hearing the famous exclamation about what to do instead of making war, but that does not have much to do with gardens. Why is it good to do gardening in the middle of a metropolis? You could surely answer this question on your own as well. Plant a flower, water the plants after work or school instead of stressing about what’s going on in the subways or thinking about having to stand on the bus on your way home. Community gardens enhance creativity required for the productive use of urban spaces, and moreover provide urban gardeners with fresh and healthy food. A garden, according to the organisers of the event on Saturday, provides room for the exchange of information for those interested in gardening and it counterbalances the unpleasant feeling of isolation well known amongst those living in a city. In the garden, one can make friends, think, hoe the ground or have fun lying on the ground sometimes. All of us long for this from time to time. To participate in the nurturing of a community garden does not only mean the taking care of its plants and animals, but to do something for our soul: one feels refreshed and happier after working together and seeing the results. Sándor Márai wrote: „Create and look after your soul, like a garden, take good care of the seasons of life... Bloom and decay, like a garden: because everything is inside you. Be aware that you are the garden and the gardener at the same time.”
The purpose of the HORTIS (Horticulture in Towns for Inclusion and Socialisation) project is the support of the lifelong learning of adults, as well as the fight for social inclusion through the popularisation of community and urban gardening. The main goals of the project are the education of a new generation of gardener teachers, who, once retiring from teaching, will be able to found and maintain community gardens, include local residents and organise them as well as including the unemployed adult population in the courses about establishing and maintaining gardens. The project is coordinated by the Agricultural Sciences Department of the University of Bologna.
„The garden was filled with the only content and reason that provides the secret and everyday reason for its existence. The garden was filled with something, on which, at the same time, worked the gardener and the lacewing, the wind and the rain, God and the bees. It was a secret work. They were weaving and fitting things together, creating and domesticating in the garden for months. Now it is here, in its full maturity, but it does not have a goal any more. It does not want to be useful. It only wants to exist – it is an important lesson! Do you understand?” Sándor Márai
Translated by Judit Molnár