(proposals for measures and actions)
We know many urban gardeners. Some practiced for many years, others have only one season behind their backs. There are some started out as suburban gardeners on their own land, others are straight threw themselves into the deep shared city gardens. What they have in common is that they come to us, driven by the love of the land and the cultivation of plants, but they are quickly embraced by the community spirit.
We asked urban garden practitioners in Sofia what kind of messages they would send to the institutions, so urban gardening (or agriculture according to some) to receive official support from institutions. We asked them what measures and actions they would propose to be included in a future Vision for urban gardening in the capital. Here's what we received answers:
"At present, urban gardening / agriculture sites are not present among the types of municipal property for which a preferential price is provided under the current Price Regulation for real estate transactions of the Sofia Municipality. For example, political parties or the BRC receive a preferential price under this regulation when renting municipal property. The only opportunity to rent municipal land at the moment is at market prices. I propose that in Part II, Section Preferential Rental Prices with a view to the tenants of the Regulations on prices in real estate transactions of the Sofia Municipality, add individuals and communities practicing urban agriculture, with the price for these tenants of real estate in Sofia to be zero or symbolic (1 penny per square meter per month). "
"I propose to provide an opportunity for residents of the surrounding blocks to practice urban gardening in the yards of municipal and state schools. Involve the Regional Office for Education - Sofia-city in the process. The access to the gardens in the school yards may be restricted only to hours of the day in which there are no classes, which with the forthcoming transition of the Bulgarian schools to a one-shift regime will be sufficient. "
"Currently, the Ordinance on the construction, maintenance and protection of the green system of the Sofia Municipality regulates actions only with tree and ornamental vegetation. Indeed, the cultivation of food plants (vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices) in green spaces is not prohibited, but there are restrictive provisions. That is why we want the Ordinance to provide for 1% of the area of each park in Sofia to be allocated for urban gardening.
We also want a change in Art. 36 (2) 11 of the Ordinance, which states that "the collection of seeds, fruits, cuttings, picking herbs" is prohibited in the green areas, etc. - even if urban gardeners plant plants for food (which is not prohibited) ), this text prohibits harvesting. We therefore propose to add in the text "except in the areas designated for urban gardening by those directly involved in the cultivation of food plants" or to add a new article directly on what is permitted and prohibited in green areas, committed to urban gardening. "
"I believe that the Vision should envisage specific ways in which the City Municipality can assist urban gardeners with access to water."
"In cases where urban gardening activities that serve the objectives set out in (A) the Metropolitan Municipality's Strategies and Programs in different directions - education, social activities, waste management; sports and youth activities; and (B) in the Integrated Urban Reconstruction and Development Plan of the City of Sofia 2014-2020 (Encouraging active civic participation, inclusion of disadvantaged, socially disadvantaged and disadvantaged; protection, maintenance and development of green areas and links to mountains) . The metropolitan municipality has to bear the cost of constructing fences and basic infrastructure (installing a storage shed for tools, pavements for trails, water containers, composters). "
"I propose to check whether there is a new strategy for managing the municipal property of the Metropolitan Municipality (currently this is publicly available until 2016). If it has not yet been adopted, take steps towards adding a task for the next period to develop. Ordinance on the terms and conditions for the implementation of urban gardening / agriculture on the territory of the Sofia Municipality, which shall describe specific mechanisms for assistance by the CA and the district administrations in securing watering activities.
It should also include clearly spelled out objectives and activities that are consistent with the COM (2011) 571 Roadmap for Efficient Use of Resources, which aims at "zero net land use" by 2050 and the current 20-year a strategy for the sustainable development of UN cities (Habitat III). This strategy sets out the principles of balanced, polycentric urban development by stimulating the production and consumption of local foods and by providing urban farming opportunities to citizens, especially to disadvantaged groups. "
“In my opinion, a coordinator should be appointed in the municipal administration to be in charge of serving citizens wishing to practice urban gardening. This employee should offer on-demand pitches to those who wish to do so in the short term (eg 5 working days) - from a list of specific places. Also be responsible for concluding a contract for the use of municipal land with the citizens / associations wishing within 20 working days after application. I think that when the contract provides for specific actions by the Sofia Municipality on the ground, this will happen within 20 working days of reaching the relevant agreement. "
"I think that a municipality should create a mechanism through which to mediate between urban gardeners and landowners (whether their property is municipal, private or state owned) when there is a site suitable for urban gardening, but there is no the investor's intent on the part of the owner for the next 18 months. In such a case, the municipal employees should cooperate within 2 working weeks in order to reach an agreement for rent or gratuitous provision between the owner and
users. If the land has unclear owners - the municipality should be hired to protect the interests of future users in the face of urban gardeners. "