Godfathers in Essen

I’ve recently been touring Germany speaking about guerrilla gardening. And I’ve been on the look out for pavement pimpers, I even joined some locals doing a bit in Essen and Munich using the usual guerrilla tactics. But I was on the look out for places where the city actually encourages it and in Essen came across the “Pflegepatenschaften” scheme which I learnt means you become a ‘godfather’ to care for little public space. In Essen there are more than 1000 godfathers, with citizens and enterprises who do the gardening. The city expects four things: (1) watering (2) keep it clean of weeds and litter (3) planting (4) scarify the soil when needed. Sounds good to me. You find a spot, you make a request online and if they city agrees you press on and get an official document. You’re not legally bounded by the law to do the gardening and can end your ‘godfathership’ whenever you want… so it sounds like a fairly relaxed and sensible scheme. Even so… there’s lots more potential to pimp Essen. So although the scheme’s in place the benefits for everyone of participating need to be drummed up. You can view a report of the guerrilla gardening in Essen here.

Planting primulas by a pavement in Essen, Germany

Planting primulas by a pavement in Essen, Germany

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