Due to various pollution factors, impending climate crises, and uncontrolled developer-driven urbanization that threaten Belgrade's green infrastructure and public spaces, the quality of life in the city is declining. This calls for innovative solutions. With the aim of influencing public policies in the field of urban planning, through strategies and plans that address the development of Belgrade at both macro and micro levels, we have launched the "Community Gardens Initiative."
Urban community gardens are open spaces where individuals or groups cultivate plants of their choice. They exist in most European cities and serve numerous socially beneficial purposes, including physical and social rehabilitation, opportunities for work and employment for economically disadvantaged populations, engaging senior citizens, and providing people of all generations with opportunities to pursue healthy hobbies in horticulture, gardening, and vegetable growing. Implementing successful European models of urban community garden systems could enhance the quality of life in Belgrade and facilitate the city's adaptation to climate change.
For several years, the Ekonaut Association has been working on introducing and researching the concept of community gardens through public events, showcasing international best practices, and encouraging the establishment of two community gardens in Belgrade. In 2021, we initiated the "Community Gardens Initiative" as part of the Belgrade Open School's "Green Incubator" project, with financial support from the European Union and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. The project involves active citizen participation through education and information about the concept of community gardens, as well as direct involvement in project activities. One such activity is a public call for citizens to participate in mapping potential spaces for community gardens within the territory of Belgrade through the ekonaut.org website. We have organized a series of educational activities related to growing ornamental plants and food in urban environments, as well as methods for forming and organizing community gardens. In collaboration with CEUS and in partnership with the Office of the Chief City Urban Planner, we also held an online conference titled "Planning Community Gardens Together." This conference explored opportunities to promote urban agriculture and community gardens in Belgrade. The konferencija “Planirajmo baštenske zajednice zajedno” koja je razmotrila mogućnosti za podsticanje urbane poljoprivrede i baštenskih zajednica u Beogradu.