Photos courtesy of Bundesveband Deutscher Gartenfreunde


In 2007, the first intercultural allotment garden of Braunschweig was inaugurated in the allotment garden site “Heideland”.

Three times per week, refugees and migrants of different backgrounds, as well as neighbours and interested citizens, of all different ages and from all walks of life, meet together in the allotment. What unites them all is the love of gardening.

The use of the garden as a meeting point favours the mutual understanding and reinforces the awareness of the personal situation of the refugees. Many refugees suffer from the pressure of traumatic events; they have migrated to a new country without their families, and sometimes suffer physically from the consequences of war and conflict. A garden aims at helping them to feel at home in this new environment.

M. Armineh der Avanesia, a member of the association who has been helping the refugees, called Refugium, expressed it in the following way: “A garden is a medicine without side effects”. In other words, gardening helps people to recover.

Added value

Besides the gardening activities, the use of the intercultural garden as a meeting point offers a space for many other activities. The participants in the project meet here in order to cook together and exchange ideas. They can relax in the allotment garden. There also exists the possibility for a regular exchange of information, including about the garden and herbs, seminars on health and social political issues, etc. German language courses are also planned.

How it came about

All of this was preceded by five months of extremely hard work, during which an abandoned area of 800 sq metres with a broken down shed was transformed, with the creation of these new allotments, into a colourful garden and subsequently divided into many small plots. People from eleven different nations, for example Haïti, Ruanda and Syria, can now grow their fruit and vegetables according to their own ideas or tastes and their own gardening traditions.

Future perspectives

Meanwhile, the first new gardeners have participated in a basic course to become technical advisers and have learned many things about composting and gardening care and it is foreseen that, in the future, the intercultural garden will be autonomously administered by participants involved in this project.

Links and other sources

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