Perceived functions of allotment gardens and their importance during the COVID-19 pandemic in Poland

Edyta Janus, Bożena Szewczyk-Taranek, Agnieszka Smrokowska-Reichmann
2022 Folia Horticulturae  
This article describes the changes taking place in the functions of allotment gardens, their perceived value, reasons for purchasing allotments and subjective (self-reported) assessments of their importance during the pandemic. A questionnaire survey was conducted among 203 owners of allotment gardens located in three highly urbanised cities in the Silesian Voivodeship (Southern Poland). Semi-structured questionnaires and non-standardised questionnaires were used to collect the data. The
more » ... demonstrate that the respondents aged above 61 years (38.5%) have observed a generational change in the function of allotments, from cultivating fruits and vegetables to recreational purposes. Regardless of age, the owners of allotment gardens did not notice any technological progress or new crops. The young respondents (21–30 years) treated allotment gardens as an investment (36.7%), while the respondents aged below 20 years and over 61 years declared that the greatest benefits of allotment gardening are improved health and growing one's own fruits and vegetables. The respondents aged over 41 years (25.9%) also pointed out the importance of growing their own produce. Allotments were especially important during the pandemic as a private space free from COVID-related restrictions. Extended interviews with the respondents revealed that allotment gardening was perceived as a coping strategy for the stress generated during the lockdown. This study showed that allotment gardens are important sites not only for food production but also for maintaining mental health, social capital and environmental engagement.
doi:10.2478/fhort-2022-0006 fatcat:oo4tuwn6yra4xbxxmembxhb2m4