Photo Gallery Urban Farming in Berlin

Germans are famous for their small urban gardening plots, which were in vogue long before the current trend. But many of the mini-gardens in Berlin may now be endangered.
1 / 10

An oasis in the middle of the city: All over the country -- whether on the outskirts of cities or in otherwise hard-to-use spaces, such as next to train tracks -- you will find little garden plots, known as Schrebergarten, which can be rented from cities for a few hundred euros per year.

Foto: Verlag W. Wächter / Brigitte Einführ
2 / 10

On the weekends, thousands of Germans flee their homes and arrive at these closely packed-in plots -- with their neatly ordered flowerbeds, well-tended fruit trees and picture-perfect picket fences -- in order to get a little dirt under their fingernails.

Foto: Verlag W. Wächter / Brigitte Einführ
3 / 10

Urban farming has been enjoying a renaissance. In March, first lady Michelle Obama picked up a shovel and began to transform a plot of land in front of the White House into an organic vegetable garden. Her goal is to lure her hamburger-addicted fellow countrymen and women off their couches and show them how they can save money in these hard financial times by growing their own vegetables.

Foto: Joyce N. Boghosian/ AFP
4 / 10

In Germany, the gardens took off in popularity during World War I and World War II, when it was hard to get your hands on fresh fruit and vegetables.

Foto: Verlag W. Wächter / Dieter Hauptmann
5 / 10

Berlin currently boasts around 74,500 small gardens covering an area of about 3,060 hectares (7,560 acres). The city's senate proudly proclaims that "no other comparable metropolis enjoys such a large number of privately used gardens in direct proximity to the city's downtown area."

Foto: Verlag W. Wächter / Dieter Hauptmann
6 / 10

Six months after Michelle Obama's launched her gardening initiative, the number of people who have started growing their own private vegetable gardens has exploded. The "recession gardens" are particularly popular. Here, an urban garden in Oakland, California.

7 / 10

The trend has caught on in Great Britain as well. Here, Prince Charles visits a garden with his wife, Camilla. Queen Elizabeth II has had an organic vegetable patch set up on the grounds of Buckingham Palace for the first time since the end of World War II, and the British government has been promoting gardening as part of its efforts to prepare for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.

8 / 10

The gardens allow food to be grown near where it is consumed, thereby reducing climate damage caused by having to transport it over longer distances. Pictured here is the Nomura Building in Tokyo, whose basement is outfitted with greenhouses in which vegetables are grown.

Foto: Junko Kimura/ Getty Images
9 / 10

Many of these gardens are full of the peculiar garden gnomes loved by many in Germany. But there might be fewer of these if Berlin's senate gets its way. For a number of reasons -- including a massive banking scandal in the 1990s, its enormous social-spending obligations and inefficient administrative -- the city of Berlin is catastrophically in debt -- to the tune of almost €60 billion ($90 billion).

10 / 10

By selling off the land housing the garden plots, which it calls "attractive inner-city locations for residential and commercial use," the senate is hoping to be able to bring some money into its empty coffers. But many fans of the gardens believe it is a bad chocie that only hurts the city's environment and the health of its citizens.

Foto: Verlag W. Wächter / Dieter Hauptmann
Die Wiedergabe wurde unterbrochen.
Speichern Sie Ihre Lieblingsartikel in der persönlichen Merkliste, um sie später zu lesen und einfach wiederzufinden.
Jetzt anmelden
Sie haben noch kein SPIEGEL-Konto? Jetzt registrieren
Mehrfachnutzung erkannt
Bitte beachten Sie: Die zeitgleiche Nutzung von SPIEGEL+-Inhalten ist auf ein Gerät beschränkt. Wir behalten uns vor, die Mehrfachnutzung zukünftig technisch zu unterbinden.
Sie möchten SPIEGEL+ auf mehreren Geräten zeitgleich nutzen? Zu unseren Angeboten