SELF-SUFFICIENCY IN SUBURBAN HOME GARDENS? ON THE HISTORY AND PROSPECTS OF THE IDEA OF FOOD PRODUCTION IN GERMAN HOME GARDENS
From the beginning of civilisation agriculture has played a major, if not the central role in economic and cultural life. Ever since, a great deal of the food was self made at the oikos, the pre-modern home and self-sufficient economic unit that for most of the population was the centre of their world. The modern overall break up with domestic food production, leaving citizens completely dependent on nourishment by supermarkets, is all but a matter of course. In 19th century many of the rural population migrated to the cities that were not capable of granting subsistence to so many people. Allotments of the rising Kleingarten movement gave the chance for self-sufficiency in terms of vegetables, fruits and poultry. The idea was also supported by the Garden City movement and the German Settlement movement. Given industrialized agriculture, political and economic stability, after WW II vegetable plots were turned into leisure gardens. Yet vegetable beds have not disappeared completely from the home garden. In an empirical study the author has shown that the productive garden survives miniaturized and marginalized, but still important to many owners. Its character has changed from food production to aesthetic attraction and symbolic representation. Hence the productive garden is not the counterpart to the leisure garden anymore. It has to be seen as a component and a special variety of it. Thus the pretended self-sufficiency of the kitchen garden turns out to be a refined manner of the luxury of being independent to real agrarian production.
Lieske, H. (2010). SELF-SUFFICIENCY IN SUBURBAN HOME GARDENS? ON THE HISTORY AND PROSPECTS OF THE IDEA OF FOOD PRODUCTION IN GERMAN HOME GARDENS. Acta Hortic. 881, 807-812
horticulture, kitchen garden, allotment, settlement, city