Modraszka community garden was established in 2017 by a group of young mothers in the area with already growing trees and bushes. The idea was to reclaim a green area between the blocks of Gabinska and Kiełpińska Street, the school playground and the pedestrian route on Staffa Street. Modraszka is not surrounded by any fence and it’s open for everyone.
Since the beginning of the initiative, the garden was planned as a place for the integration of inhabitants of this part of Bielany district, serving their recreation and ecological education. In 2018, they started an on-line crowdfunding and collected money for raised beds and plants. Together with a group of gardeners, neighbours, and friend they design and created space we can see today.
Thanks to support of Bielany District Office they were able to organise over 10 different events with experts, build furniture for the garden, purchase equipment and plants. Each of the meetings was different, focusing mainly on sustainable design, permaculture or bird watching. This way they managed to expand the circle of potential gardeners and encourage more and more people to visit the garden. Modraszka is also formally supported by the Housing Cooperative ‘Przedwiośnie by the fact that garden is located on the ground belonging to the cooperative. This support makes the area available for the community of gardeners and, if necessary, the cooperative provided space for the event in the local club. The lease of the land has to be renewed every year.
At the beginning, when the initiative group chose the area for the future garden, they had to get the permission from the cooperative to be able to use the land legally. It took a while due to the fact that idea of community gardening was not well known by the board members of cooperative. The whole process of legalisation, developing a common vision of how to use the area and understanding of concerns, was laborious, also because the cooperative was afraid of financial responsibility as well as resentment of other residents. At the end, with the support of the mayor of Bielany district, active in ecological education initiatives, the cooperative has agreed to establish garden on their land.
Case of Modraszka shows one of typical scenarios when establishing community gardens in Warsaw on the land belonging to the cooperatives who often lack of financial resources. Therefore, they are more likely to be afraid to support residents’ projects by expressing distrust or place the responsibility on other stakeholders, participatory budget or small initiatives funding.