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GIZ Goes Urban Gardening!

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GIZ goes urban gardening!

Committed staff involved in the Meander Garden, Photo: GIZ

The first garden beds being filled with soil, Photo: GIZ

Opening ceremony with GIZ Managing Director Dr Hans-Joachim Preuß, Photo: GIZ

For us at GIZ, fostering biodiversity is a major part of our corporate responsibility goals. Our staff practice sustainability on a daily basis and are always on the lookout for possibilities to unleash their creative potential. This is how, in April 2016, the Meander Garden came into being; a GIZ urban gardening project stretching across around 300 square metres at GIZ's newly built Meander Building in Bonn. GIZ moved into the new offices in the summer of 2015 where the garden was established as a permanent, participatory project in which over 40 staff are already actively involved.

On 8 June 2016 an official opening ceremony was held for the garden, which was attended by GIZ Managing Director Dr Hans-Joachim Preuß and 50 further guests. The Meander Garden already hosts a great diversity of local plants in the smallest of spaces: some twenty raised beds are brimming with regional fruit and vegetable varieties, each with a short description of the plants in German and English. Not only can all the staff get stuck into gardening here and literally harvest the fruits of their labour, but they can also use the garden as a space for knowledge exchange and relaxation. Weekly lunchtime garden picnics are held for these purposes.

With its community garden, GIZ wants to show - and experience - how sustainability and crop diversity can be achieved via simple means. The garden is also designed to reference the company's work on sustainability, e.g. promotion of biodiversity, dietary diversity, urban farming, technical solutions, and the cultivation of crop plants originating in the global south. Seed of climatically adapted varieties is used exclusively. The Meander Garden provides additional green space in the city of Bonn and highlights the biodiversity of the local flora.

Aspects of biodiversity are not just an afterthought but were taken into account when constructing the Meander Building. Supported by the Lake Constance Foundation, green roofs were installed on the building and it was surrounded with wildflower meadows.

By Marina Vulovic and Dorothea Hohengarten

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