Motyka I Słońce is a community garden established in 2014, located in the centre of Warsaw, Jazdów. It is run by a Foundation The Commons Lab.
The unusual names of Warsaw community gardens often reflect the creativity of their founders (Maćkiewicz et al. 2018). The name “Motyka i Słońce” recalls an old Polish saying: “Nie porywaj się z motyką na słońce”(don’t take the hoe to the sun). In English it’d be: “don’t bite off more than you can chew”. The initiators of this community garden dared to take the hoe – they had a vision and made it true.
The story of Motyka i Słońce begins in 2014 in quite a unique corner of the Polish capital city: the housing development Jazdów, consisting of wooden Finnish bungalows surrounded by a park. There the first activists saw the potential of these reminders of the post-war history of the city (Gawryszewska, 2018) and started using the city land to grow vegetables in a querilla way. In the course of the time and thanks to the dedication of the activists the place haven’t got demolished and instead turned into an oasis for several bottom-up initiatives and NGOs, among them: The Commons Lab (Pracownia Dóbr Wspólnych) that runs the community garden Motyka i Słońce. The foundation takes care also of one Finnish House, just next to the garden.
Being one of the first and most mature community gardens in Warsaw, Motyka i Słońce shared their knowledge and experience with other new gardens in the “Szkoła Ogrodników Miejskich” (School of urban gardeners) or keeping an urban rental place for garden tools for beginning urban gardeners. Motyka i Słońce was also responsible for the community gardens part of the city-run program supporting urban gardens Bujna Warszawa (Luxuriant Warsaw).
The garden is created for educational reasons, to support the food self-sufficiency and to bring some countryside into the city. The latter was detected as a common motivation for engaging in urban gardening in a resent research among Warsaw community gardens (Sanecka et al 2020). The 700m2 of the garden are rent by the city to the gardeners under preferential contidions: the rent is symbolic, around 0,02 EUR/m2 per month. In order to become part of the community of Motyka i Słońce one has to contact them, accept the rules and… come to grow food together in Jazdów!
Gawryszewska B. (2018). Garden—non-garden. Contemporary trends in transformation of greenery as an instrument in the contest for the city. Kulturowe Studia Krajobrazowe
Maćkiewicz B., Puente Asuero R., Pawlak K. (2018). Reclaiming urban space: A study of community gardens in Poznań. Quaestiones Geographicae 37(4), Bogucki Wydawnictwo Naukowe, Poznań
Sanecka J., Barthel S., Colding J. (2020). Countryside within the City: A Motivating Vision behind Civic Green Area Stewardship in Warsaw, Poland.