Following gardeners’ individual stories

Due to pandemic situation we had to change the methodology we are using in our research. We could at least make some small gatherings both in Warsaw and Berlin, but unfortunately we were not able to bring gardeners from Warsaw to Berlin for a common workshop, which was supposed to be led using the VISIS method. This method was designed by Alan AtKisson and is used in various countries in different contexts to work on complex issues related to sustainable development. The VISIS method is one of the tools often used by the Sendzimir Foundation from Poland in participatory projects. The abbreviation stands for Vision, Indicators, Systems, Innovation, Strategy – as are the critical steps in planning for sustainable development. The advantage of the method takes into account perspectives of different actors.

Since it was no longer possible to hold the workshops as planned and we in the end didn’t reckon an on-line version a good alternative (which we for some time considered), we had to look for another solution. In order to be able to collect personal stories of integration from different persons. We decided to lead in-depth interviews. It is a goal oriented qualitative method of collecting data by researcher directly from a participant. It doesn’t have to be structured, it doesn’t have to follow strictly defined questions. Interviewer must make sure all of the topics of his/her interest are covered.

For the interviews we are meeting gardeners from Warsaw’s and Berlin’s both allotment and community gardens, representatives of garden’s associations, city administration, academics and activists engaged in the topic of urban gardens. Some of them we were luckily able to lead in person in Berlin at the beginning and in Warsaw in the end of October.

Herbal spiral in the Peace of Land community garden, next to which we had an in-depth interview about urban gardens integration ©Anna Dańkowska

Now we are in the process of collecting the last interviews, now mostly led on-line, using video calls. They work pretty well, we can say!

But we miss being able to meet in person and visit such beautiful gardens as for example the one below…

A wonderfully biodiverse plot of Antonia from Harztal-Wilde Rose allotment garden colony ©Anna Dańkowska

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