Wellbeing and Mental Health

The hottest new craze for German millennials? Gardening

A typical 'Schrebergarten', which means allotment garden, is seen in Dortmund May 22, 2006.  The FIFA soccer World Cup 2006 will be held in Germany from June 9 - July 9.  WORLD CUP 2006 PREVIEW      REUTERS/Ina Fassbender (GERMANY) - BM2DSRGSHEAA

One of the countries seeing a new generation wanting to take over plots is Germany. Image: REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

Rosamond Hutt
Senior Writer, Formative Content
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Germany

Allotment gardening is no longer seen as the preserve of retirees. Green-fingered and environmentally-conscious millennials are signing up for a patch of nature where they can grow their own food.

One of the countries seeing a new generation wanting to take over plots is Germany, where allotment gardens have been part of urban life since the 19th century. The average age of alllotment gardeners has dropped five years since 2011.

Allotment gardens are known as Kleingarten, small gardens, or Schrebergarten, after the Leipzig physician and professor Daniel Gottlob Moritz Schreber, who encouraged children to play outdoors. They sprang up in German cities during the Industrial Revolution to provide fresh air and food for the urban poor.

The Romerstadt allotment garden in Frankfurt. Image: BBR

Today there are almost 1 million allotment garden tenants in Germany, with rising demand from millennials, particularly families with children, a recent study found.

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The benefits of nature

The appeal of allotment gardening reflects an increasing need to be more involved in nature conservation and create green, open spaces for rest and relaxation, especially in metropolitan areas, the study says.

Urban gardening in the former industrial harbour area of Offenbach near Frankfurt. Image: BBR

It’s also part of a broader urban gardening trend in which green spaces are sprouting in unlikely places, from car parks and shipping containers to the roofs of high-rises.

The rise of veganism, concerns about pesticides and other chemicals, and a desire to eat sustainably and reduce plastic packaging are some of the factors behind this. There are also physical and mental health benefits.

Numerous studies have shown that spending time in nature can be therapeutic. That’s good news for young people dreaming of an allotment. In Berlin, there’s a three- to five-year waiting list of about 12,000 would-be gardeners, the BBC reports.

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Wellbeing and Mental HealthNature and BiodiversityIndustries in Depth
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