It’s a great act. [Laughs] But it feels good. It’s, like, signing that
it’s really true what we have spoken about the last two years. You see, I would say in Europe, or a maybe
worldwide context, free space is shrinking. You have less and less free spaces, less and
less wasteland, less and less cheap space, or affordable places for projects like us,
or for artists and for all that kind of stuff. And our impression in the last ten years was
gentrification was moving towards us. Houses were built next to us. People wanted to buy
our space, and we were kind of a little hopeless to find another place to move to. They approached us because they were looking
for possibilities on how to differently use cemetery space. The cemetery is in, like, an emergency situation
because you can’t build on the land so they can’t sell most of it. The city says we don’t
want it as parks. So suddenly you have these leftover, beautiful places like here And it’s really, like, a soil of a quality,
which is absolutely brilliant for gardening. They’re huge! Oh yeah, that’s a big harvest. They’re, like, monsters. Look at this beautiful chard. Gorgeous. They asked us if we wouldn’t be interested
to do a second garden at a cemetery at Prenzlauer Berg. But at that point in time they were
trying to rent out for a quite high price. And we didn’t have any money in 2011. We were
just a very small organization with three people. And we were a bit like, going like
this. [00:07:45] And then, like, three years ago we just went back to them. And there I met Ekkie. So it’s those. Those are stones which have
been removed, and instead of throwing them away, we collected them. And we found an artist
couple. How do you say it in English … sculpturists? [00:03:15] And they work them now as material. I don’t know how it is in other countries,
but when in Germany someone is buried you have to buy that grave for 20 years. So you
kind of buy, pay rent for 20 years, and after 20 years you can normally decide, “Do I
want to lengthen it, or not?” If you don’t want to lengthen it, then there’s 10 years,
by law, where nobody else can be buried at that place, or nothing else can happen on
it. For sure you have people who lengthen the graves, who have family graves since hundreds
of years and always lengthen them more and more. That’s a different way, but the minimum
are these 30 years. Just imagine. I mean, this is seventy five
thousand square meters here. It’s huge. You have all these meadows, and there is one tombstone.
One active grave here still, [00:19:01] and all that space has to stay cemetery because
of that one grave. In about 30 years this place can stop being
a cemetery. And then, there is this question what happens afterwards? What is it going
to be then? Our job is a little bit to stay these 30 years here, and guide that place
to whatever it’s going to be afterwards. Is it going to be a new form of garden? Are we
going to buy it? Can we buy it? We got a little time to find out, but it’s an interesting
question. It’s really fresh and herby.
I think they checked the soil before they …
Started growing something. Don’t think it’s haunted?
It feels good to eat something locally grown. It brings people together, yes. We didn’t
know each other before. [00:01:14] It’s a special atmosphere. You know, it’s like a result. A little bit.
Of one and a half years of preparation, which we all did. And seeing now that people are
happy here. The kitchen is always good, but that most
of the menu, most of the vegetable from the menu, comes from the
garden it’s just great. We started very slow June last year. Had a
look. Does it work? Talked to everybody who comes in here. Be respectful with the people.
Be respectful with the place. One of our focuses is what you call agro-biodiversity.
I think, [00:34:39] we have over 150 different kinds of vegetables and herbs over there. It’s never just about gardening. Community
gardens are always gardening plus something. Urban community gardens are important because
I think they’re one of the few places in the city where you can … where don’t have to
go along with a capitalistic logic. Where you are freer. You can try out things they
can go wrong. It’s a free space. And it brings people back to a very slow and natural way
of dealing with that. You know, it’s a vegetable, and it slows you down. No matter if you’re
in stress or not that bloody carrot doesn’t grow faster.