It was the „True Victory of Democracy” - 02.09.2015
It was the „True Victory of Democracy”
„Long live the Green Republic of Poland!- it`s been so lovely and proud thing to say for so many years”, in these words Eugeniusz Kondracki, President of the Polish Allotment Gardens Federation (PZD), greeted the participants of the 56. National Day of the Allotment Gardener. This event has gathered over 700 allotment gardeners from various parts of Poland, including distinguished guests such as the Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz, Maciej Grabowski (the Minister of the Environment) and parliamentarians of all parties. Also, many representatives of local authorities were present: Michał Owczarek (the Voivode of Pomerania), Mieczysław Struk (the marshal of Pomeranian voivodeship), and Mirosław Pobłocki (the mayor of Tczew and co-organizer of this event). Together with the residents of Tczew and politicians, the allotment gardeners celebrated their harvest, talking about their numerous achievements in the field of allotment gardening.
The Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz: You have a friend in me
“As always, it has been a great National Day of Allotment Gardener”, said Zofia Busz, an allotment gardener from family allotments (ROD) Energetyk- Górnik in Warsaw, who took part in the event for the seventh time. “The Prime Minister has never participated before. We believe that the words of Ewa Kopacz will now turn into action. All allotment gardeners count on it”, she said. She also pointed that the presence of Prime Minister in the event of such importance for the allotment gardeners was significant because it raised its prestige and made it more public. “Allotment gardeners should be respected, for they care about green areas, flowers, and everything related to natural environment. This respect in society should derive from up there, from the respect of the authorities and the politicians. “There is no respect without understanding the idea of allotment gardening first”, said Stanisław Rak from 1 Maja ROD in Gliwice, also pointing at the importance of presence of the Prime Minister that helped the allotment gardeners many times, for example while preparing the new Law of Family Allotment Gardens and the amendment to building law concerning garden sheds.
“Thanks to our integration, the Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz understands what allotment gardens and green areas are, how big is our passion towards earth, and how much it means for the Poles and cities”, said the allotment gardener from Gliwice. Allotment gardeners considered the presence of the Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz a historical moment, not only due to the fact of her arrival itself, but because of what she said and declared. Once again, she ensured the gardening community of her support and friendship. “ I am at your disposal. Regardless how my life and career go on, I will always be your friend”, said Kopacz towards all celebrating gardeners. In her opinion, allotment gardeners constitute a fine example of shaping the civic society. “You are well organized, and not only you can defend your beliefs and mobilize quickly, but also try to make the Polish legislation serve those, who have a great passion”, said the Prime Minister. She appreciated both the work of allotment gardeners and PZD for the allotments, and the festive celebration of the National Day of Allotment Gardener. “Today’s festival means a lot to me. You have expanded PZD, the Polish Allotment Gardens Federation, as True Victory of Democracy (pol. Prawdziwe Zwycięstwo Demokracji). Those who do not possess allotment gardens should envy you. This is a passion that stems from the love towards nature and your close ones that you host in your allotment gardens”, said Kopacz.
Believing in a better tomorrow
The presence of Ewa Kopacz in the annual harvest festival was a pleasant surprise for the allotment gardeners and it was appreciated. “She guaranteed that it will be all right and that we can finally start thinking about the future instead of a relentless struggle”, said Tadeusz Sowa (ROD Źródełko in Turek). “What worries me is that after the elections there will be a clash between the promises and reality. However, her presence on the National Day of Allotment Gardener is a good sign”. “Prime Minister Kopacz knows what she says. For sure, she will keep her promises”, said the allotment gardeners from Gorzów Wielkopolski after her speech.
She has been helping us until now and we will hold her to her word that she will help us also in other situations and, above all, that she will influence positively the attitude of the Civic Platform ( pol. Platforma Obywatelska – one of polish political parties) members towards the allotments.
The participants of the National Day of Allotment Gardener emphasized that they will hold the Prime Minister to her promise. “The allotments are such a treat for property developers that we still have to fight for them. I hope that the positive attitude of the state authorities is a good token for the allotment gardeners and we’ll have a brief rest from this endless fight”, said Maria Rozumiejew, Kopernik family allotment garden in Białystok.
Celebration of the allotment gardeners’ and the Polish Allotment Gardens Federation’s success
There were many reasons to celebrate. One of them is that the amount of the allotment gardeners is still rising. PZD has now over 1,1 million members. Even more people in Poland (over 4 million) are connected with allotment gardening. “This fact makes us really happy, because it proves that the tradition that we represent is developing”, emphasized the President of PZD Eugeniusz Kondracki in his speech.
-People are more eager to come to allotment gardens and inquire about a plot. Among them, there is no shortage of young married couples - added the President Kondracki pointing out that thanks to this trend the gardens can and want to develop. - We want to build gardens of the future, so they serve not only the gardeners, but also the city residents as green grounds – He said. -Maybe it is indeed RODOS (fenced family allotment gardens) but they are still closer and more accessible than the Greek island -stressed President Kondracki. He also revealed that the federation wants to use EU funds e.g. regarding renewable sources of energy. The President of the Polish Allotment Gardens Federation also thanked union structures, managements of family allotment gardens and allotment holders themselves for their tremendous, everyday work. “We would not be here if not you and your persistent work”, he pointed out. The President’s words impressed the allotment holiday participants. “I adore president Kondracki, and his amazing activity that I have been watching for many years”, said one allotment gardener from Białystok. The President’s substantive and concise speech was appreciated in many conversations right after the end of an official part.
Decorations and awards
A very important part of the ceremony was awarding participants of the national competitions that are the tradition of the Federation. Winners of “Exemplary Family Allotment Garden of the 2015” received their prizes from the Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz and the President of PZD. The winners received certificates, prizes, association publications and a one-year subscription of magazine Działkowiec. “My garden was awarded in the National Competition, so I am satisfied twice”, said Teofil Krzyżak – ROD president from Jarocin. Not only in his, but also in other participants’ view, such distinctions are an extra motivator not only for allotment gardeners themselves, but especially garden managements that work on a voluntary basis. “This is the crowning achievement of our hard work, sweat and tears. We can share our success with the allotment gardeners, show them the award and certificate” said the president from Jarocin.
“The PZD has rewarded us, and provided us with a great time and food. What more can we expect?” asked an amused Krystyna Tobys – a gardener from the allotment garden “K. Świerczewski” - “ROD of the 2015” in Nowy Tomyśl. “I am happy to be the part of such an amazing allotment community” she added. Participants and winners of the “ROD of the 2015” also received their awards. The PZD President also awarded allotment holders and gave them “Zasłużony Działkowiec” (Deserving Holder) Gold Badges.
Together for the environment
“Today’s holiday is special. However, I have to emphasize that each year PZD organizers and activists dedicate themselves and do everything they can in order to prepare the event in the best possible way” says allotment gardener Jan Kachniarz from “Odnowa” ROD in Chełmża. Also, during the festive gala distinctions for PZD services were given. They were received by such individuals as: Mieczysław Struk – the marshal of Pomeranian voivodeship, and Katarzyna Mejna, the secretary of Tczew. “Beautiful cities are not only these, where beautiful buildings appear, but these where for many years people have been taking care for the environment”, said Mieczysław Struk during his speech. “You achieved a lot and you are very experienced in this field”, mentioned the marshal of Pomeranian voivodeship. He also added that in Gdańsk and Słupsk self-government authorities created a plan of cooperation in order to, together with allotment gardeners, improve the condition of the environment. “We want you to spread ideas in these structures and use the funds provided by the EU” he added. Moreover he expressed his satisfaction with the fact that there are young people who want to have their allotments – their own world to which they can escape, in order to have a rest, and bring family together.
“You are friends of self-government. Not destructors, but friends that influence the construction of civic society”, he said. Moreover, he added that allotment gardeners are the community that is created not in theory, but in reality. Also, during the ceremony, there took place the official signing of the agreement between Mieczysław Struk - the marshal of Pomeranian voivodeship, the representative of territorial departments of the PZD (OZ) PZD in Gdansk – president Czesław Smoczyłski, and the representative of OZ PZD in Słupsk – Wiesław Boratyński. The text of the agreement is short, yet it is a result of a great deal of work of the PZD activists and the Marshal’s office, and is also a great chance for a real development of allotment gardens thanks to EU funds. This is the first such agreement between the PZD and local authorities.
Honoured for many years of effort and work
The most touching moment during the festive gala was giving thanks to distinguished presidents of ROD managements, who finished their work at the end of the last term. “Such change of generations when young people come and the old leave is very evocative and moving not only for observers, but also for the involved people”, says Bożena Majchrzak from ROD Leśne Oczko in Nowy Kisielin. “I saw the PZD chairman from the Zielona Góra district crying, he was so deeply touched by this honouring, it really meant a lot to him. Others were also touched and crying. The Family Allotments chairmen sacrificed large part of their lives in aid of gardens”, she said. They are people who over a few years – often even decades- performed their duties with full involvement and devotion. They are appreciated by their own allotment gardeners, but also by all the structures of the PZD. They are people with passion and enormous knowledge of garden functioning, taking care of them and reconciling many people’s interests in everyone’s advantage.
Their devotion to the PZD, active work in defence of the Family Allotments’ act and the PZD contributed to building the common good, which is the allotment gardens. They were creating together the history of Polish allotment gardening over many years. In total, over 342 former Family Allotments chairmen were honoured in the whole Poland. Also, during the gala, the representatives of almost all PZD districts were honoured. This unprecedented event deeply touched the participants. “The remembrance of the fact that there were so many chairmen and that they gave way to the new ones is an important moment because thanks to such events people know when they can step down and hand over their duties to their successors. Therefore, gardens are continuously developing from generation to generation and creating their history, but also adjusting to the current times”, said Henryka Miodka, “Cukrownik” Family Allotment from Pruszcz Gdański.
Tczew- garden friendly city
During the celebration of allotment holders, there occasional trophies were presented to the gardens of Tczew, which had their jubilee. „Tczew has always been friendly for allotment gardeners”, mayor of the Town emphasized in his speech. „We have 11 allotments in our Town. The oldest are one hundred years old, the youngest were founded in the 1980s. Gardens in Tczew have over 150 hectares. It means that people need their own piece of land”, he said. Participants of the National Day of Allotment Gardener praised authorities and Tczew residents, who took the responsibility for co-organization such a celebration. „We have to admire them for it”, said Jan Nowociński from ROD Czeczotka in Ostrołęka.
„There is a good atmosphere for allotment holders. We can see a lot of exhibitions and baskets from regional harvest festivals. It means that people are open to gardens and the PZD”, pointed out a gardener from Ostrołęka. The President of the PZD Eugeniusz Kondracki thanked warmly Tczew’s mayor Mirosław Pobłocki for a good cooperation with allotment holders and for the help with the celebration’s organization. Meanwhile the Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz with the Tczew president visited exhibition stalls of allotments from Tczew. Allotment gardeners offered her crops from their gardens and hunters from hunting clubs „Szarak” and „Kociewa” proposed their own products made of venison.
Consolidated with unity, armed with fire-extinguisher
„A fraternal atmosphere accompanied us during the celebration. Just joking at the table, I turn to everybody with the word „brother” and „sister”. It’s not a joke, that we all are one, big family, it’s reality. It’s amazing that we form such a large community”, said one of the allotment gardeners from Białystok. „You are the salt of the earth and I’m proud when I look at you”, said deputy Joanna Senyszyn, vice-president of SLD (Democratic Left Alliance), who gave regards to participants.
All present praised the perfect organisation of this year’s National Day of Allotment Garder’s celebration, and the atmosphere on Tczew’s boulevards. „The atmosphere was friendly, and as it can be seen on people’s faces, all were very content, and those who were there for the first time-amazed. During the National Day of Allotment Gardner they could feel united and responsible for allotments and not only for their own plot. During spending time together, people unite and integrate with each other in every aspect/level and this yearly holiday recall us and bring all individuals to cooperate at the same time”, said Małgorzata Michalkiewicz from ROD in Gorzów Wielkopolski. „In my opinion, the organization National Day Allotment Gardener is getting better every year. The federation is vibrant.
Times are changing and this event is organized really good”, emphasized Bożena Majchrzak from ROD Leśne Oczko in Nowy Kisielin. Allotment gardeners were satisfied with the organization and how the event proceeded. „The whole event programme was fantastic. There were a lot of honourable mentions. There was a friendly family atmosphere, we could feel that everything is going to be all right. The hope was born from unity, despite obstacles we are together, stronger than previously”, said Helena Warnicka from Family Allotment Garden Rumin in Rumina.”If more problems appeared, the President Eugeniusz Kondracki would certainly extinguish them with a fire-extinguisher received as a present from allotments”, she said.
Dance, laughter and fun
There were a lot of attractions waiting for allotment holders: harvest festival baskets, yeast cakes with fruits from allotments, and also artistic workshops, or slides for children. There was even a pigeon exhibition, bub’s fair, sale of meats and honeys. Nobody left with an empty hand. The PZD assured a full board and gifts for allotment holders who came from all regions of Poland. “Such an integration, exchange of opinions and experiences is necessary for all the gardeners. I’ve been an allotment gardener for 22 years, but this is my first time on the National Day of Allotments Gardner and I regret that I haven’t participated in such an event until now. I’m from the North and I’ve been talking to gardeners from the South, East and West. We’re exchanging our experiences, share our knowledge, because we can learn something from everyone. It’s an opportunity to meet and that’s wonderful”, said Henryka Miodka from Pruszcz Gdański.
Certainly all the participants of the celebration will remember the National Day of Allotment Gardener celebration for a long time. Gardeners, managements and gardens honoured and awarded valuable rewards gained new strength to accept next challenges and to build and develop the allotments. “Such a day is necessary. It shows that it’s worth to have an allotment, work on it and be a part of a big organisation that supports and fights to provide a future and protection of the gardeners and their gardens’ rights. Man shall not live by work alone and the National Day of Allotment Gardner is a chance for the whole community gathered around allotments just to celebrate”, said Irena Górecka from “Zachęta” Family Allotment Garden in Krotoszyn. The participants emphasized that they regretted leaving. The next National Day of Allotment Gardner will take place in just a year.