by Andreas Hunkeler
Andernach is a city with 30 inhabitants and is located on the Rhine.
What is so special about Andernach?
Lutz Kosack, landscape planner for the Andernach city administration, describes in one Article his city as follows:
In addition to tomatoes, we also grow salads, Swiss chard, beans and herbs. And persimmons, bananas and grapes grow on the old city wall. Instead of “trespassing prohibited”, we in Andernach say: “Picking allowed”. And all in organic quality.
Gardens in cities are not uncommon. Public gardens, which the city administration creates itself, do.
Kosack writes: “The main focus is on the public green spaces. In addition to an attractive design of the urban green spaces, they should also take on ecological, economic and aesthetic functions in equal measure in terms of multifunctionality. In the concept of the 'Edible City' it applies to this as'Center of life again with 'Food' to make it tangible. "
The aim was also to make public green spaces more creative in light of a difficult budget situation and to promote urban biodiversity.
How does that fit together? To create added value for the residents and save money at the same time?
Recognition and support from the population
Kosack writes that the areas are maintained by the Perspektive gGmbH, a local long-term unemployed employment and qualification company. Increasingly, however, the goal is to include citizens in the responsibility. Based on civic engagement, clubs, senior citizens and schoolchildren, for example, can also be involved in the maintenance of certain areas.
In the beginning, so-called urban planning problem areas were deliberately chosen: places that had a poor quality of stay and were also associated with a lot of work for the municipal construction depot.
These problem areas then became more and more popular with the population.
Kosack writes: “Over time, the recognition of the project grew and the areas expanded. A self-regulating harvesting system set in. Discussions took place in the areas, recipes were exchanged - the vegetable areas developed into meeting places for people of all ages and cultures. "
Edible parks for the cities of the future?
How about if there were small edible plants in many cities? For example Baumallmenden? Places where people can meet to harvest fruit, berries or nuts and to exchange ideas? Places where young people can relate to nature and our food again? Such tree commons could connect us with our history, with times when gardens and trees made an important contribution to nutrition. And who knows: Perhaps the importance of local nutrition will increase again, then it would be good if there were already many trees in our settlements.
Here is another Ted talk about what is probably the first edible city: How we can eat our landscapes. In 2008 this project was created in Todmorden under the name Incredible edible.