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Polish allotment gardening changing character

Abstract: Polish allotment gardeners, who cultivate publicly owned urban space, constitute the largest group of city land managers in the country. Detailed studies about the uses of cultivated plants on allotment gardens do not exist.

The aims of (this) study are to document plant richness and diversity of allotment-garden use and to explore the (changing) purpose of such gardens. Interviews, guided walks, and plant inventories were done, conducted among 46 urban allotment gardeners in three Polish cities in 2009.

We documented 257 botanical taxa; the vast majority were used as ornamentals (191 taxa), followed by food (66) and medicinal plants (5). However, names of edible varieties were rarely reported.

In addition, very few protected and invasive species were registered in our study. Polish urban gardeners are attached to traditional food and ornamental plants (core repertoire), but they also show a moderate interest in novel plants (peripheral fashion). We observed an important shift in urban allotment garden management in Poland. Until the collapse of Communism, in the late 1980s, they had a chiefly productive character and today they are becoming more akin to pleasure gardens.

Piotr Klepacki and Monika Kujawska, Journal of Ethnobiology 2018 38(1): 123–137 (www.academia.edu)

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