Tempelhof Airport in 1984 – foto Wikipedia by TSGT Jose Lopez Jr., US Air Force
Organic sunflowers, hot peppers, chestnut trees, paprika, millet, kale and chestnut trees is what one smells now between the former runways of the airport Tempelhof instead of aviation fuel.
Where expensive business jets landed and were parked side by side as late as the 2008 World Cup held in Berlin, now sees hobby farmers of many different ages tend to their crops!
The former legendary Tempelhof Airport, which has been called the ‘mother of all airports’ has ceased being an airport since 2009 and is now home to organic urban gardens, almost 5,000-square-metre worth.
Begun last April, the ‘Allmende Kontor’ plot has about 300 signed-up people growing all manner of fruits, herbs, vegetables and flowers. which closed nearly three years ago.
The airport terminal at Tempelhof was built during the Nazi period and has some of the hallmarks of the architecture prevalent at that period. The US air force took over the airport post WWII and it later served as smaller of the two West Berlin airports – the other being Tegel.
The ‘ Allmende Kontor,’ initiative is supposed to reflect the diverse cultural character of the surrounding neighbourhoods Kreuzberg and Neukoln – working-class districts of Berlin where Germans, Arabic people and Turks fraternize and live in relative harmony.
The original name comes from medieval German and means community gardening,
The‘ Allmende Kontor now, have a 3 year lease to use the land with a further option of another 3 year extension, as the city think out a longer term plan for the entire area..
Many fear that investors will try to buy the prime real estate when the lease runs out and thus forcing them out.
For now, this great undeveloped area in the middle of the city has enthralled Berliners who come out to use the old runways for cycling and rollerblading and as part playground.
Community gardens are not new to large European cities and one now even sees them in North America, partly developed as an anti-poverty tool and also to educate urban city dweller youngsters where their food comes from.
The present capitalist economic crisis, rising food prices, unemployment and the concomitant loss of trust in politics as presently practiced have encouraged people to more ‘do-it-yourself’ projects.
Many see ‘Allmende Kontor’ as part of this political statement – urban citizens want to re-invent their city core and want to do so on their own terms.
While mostly taken up by people over 40, there are many younger people willing to garden, to make a difference where they can locally- to produce and not just consume. This augurs well for the future.
and previous OTA-Berlin Constituency Blog articles – http://www.ota-berlin.de/blog/05/10/berlin-tempelhof-airport-opened-to-the-public-yesterday/
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Former Berlin Tempelhof Airport’s ‘Allmende Kontor’ – Urban Organic gardening in Berlin ….with a twist from OTA Berlin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Germany License. If you use this article or parts of it, please refer to http://www.ota-berlin.de.