Tuesday, 16 September 2008

European Federation of City Farms Conference

The conference was excellent, very well organised with a great mix of lectures, workshops, trips to city farms and free time. There were around 70 people there, from Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Norway. The conference was held in English, but I had plenty of opportunities to speak German and Italian! The lectures were on:

The relevance of city farms to nature conservation fitted in with similar research that was done recently in the UK.

learning about history and nature by playing focussed on the role archeology can play in farm related education, farm museums are very popular in Germany. City farms in the UK are generally less likely to play a museum role.

the city seen as a playground was a slideshow demonstrating how different parts of a city can be play areas for children.

The workshop I attended was on creating youth exchanges between city farms in different countries.
The lectures and the workshops were held at the Panama City Farm and Adventure Playground. One of the things I liked about this project was that even the animals had adventure playgrounds! (Look at the goat!).
There were of course bunnies too, who I visited every coffee break.
German city farms are often combined with adventure playgrounds and also often have a Bauspielplatz (construction playgrounds where children build huts). In the UK, we are much more concerned (over concerned many of us would say) with risk and so we have fewer adventure playgrounds and those we have are less adventurous that the German ones.

We also visited four other projects which I'll post about in the next couple of days.


Katherine said...

I agree with us in the UK being over cautious, I used to work with a childcare trainer and she was always trying to get workers to let the children build and make more things.

Love the bunnies!

The Weaver of Grass said...

I think the media is often to blame for scaring parents - when I was young we used to climb trees, swing over rivers on pipes, do all kinds of dangerous things which taught us so much - now children do not get those kinds of opportunities.

Rabbits' Guy said...

Thanks for the report so far! Nice to know these things keep on going!


if you think the uk is overcautious you should try italy! and so many (though not all, but too many) italian parents who tell their children, "don't run! don't get wet! get down from there! off the grass!" ...it's a great shame!
your trip sounds very much fun and very informative too!

Janice Thomson said...

I feel sorry for today's children who don't have the freedom and adventure that I had in my youth. This sounds like a wonderful idea to bring back those happy-go-lucky times when children's heads were full of dreams and not warnings.

Mistlethrush said...

Well said Janice.

I remember when my two were little. The only conditions I made to the mums who brought their kids to play was - send them in old clothes and don't expect them to come back clean!
The kids always wanted to come back. And the mums - soon learnt! They sent them with spare clothes, Wellingtons etc.......