Forest Garden Action Days

Community Garden Allhartsberg


Forest Garden Action Days


The Forest Garden Action Days are events organised by members of the community garden Allhartsberg and take place 2-4 times a year. They aim to make the forest garden better known, to share knowledge and to do maintenance work together. All interested people are invited to visit and participate.

1. Organisation hosting the activity


Community Garden Allhartsberg

Legal status


Year of establishment



Dorf 8, 3365 Allhartsberg, Lower Austria

Since the creation of the forest garden in 2013, environmental education and promoting sustainable food systems have been one of the main objectives of the project. This happens mainly through the regular action days, where awareness of ecological connections is raised, knowledge on various topics is shared and learning happens by doing. Further educational activities are workshops on forest gardens outside the garden. Important for the garden is to promote the concept of commons and to create a genetic pool for not so common edible trees and shrubs.

External support was received for the development of the community garden but not for the action days. Concerning the provision of land they cooperate with the municipality. Some money came from the organisation “Natur im Garten” and some was raised through solidarity parties.

2. Activity detailed description

During the action days interested people come to the forest garden and can experience it up close with all their senses. Everyone can participate in the different tasks as they can and wish and sometimes small workshops on special topics related to the season of the year (such as fruit tree pruning or wild herb knowledge) take place.
So far, about 100 people have participated in forest garden action days, which are organised and run by a small team of the community garden Allhartsberg.
The benefits of the action days are the maintenance of the forest garden, the promotion of the forest garden and the (learning) experiences of the participants.

On average, 8 – 9 people participate in the action days. Some are members of the community garden Allhartsberg, others come from the surrounding area or from cities further away. Sometimes people bring their children.

For the person who plans and carries out the action day, it is important to have organisational and coordination skills. In addition, one needs knowledge of plants and how to maintain trees, which in the forest garden take on an important function. It is also useful to have experience in working with groups and to be flexible.

People who come to an action day can increase their knowledge of plants, develop practical and social skills and benefit from the experience of other participants. They gain a better understanding of ecological relationships and the role of nature in climate change. Challenging in the realisation of action days is that people are different, which makes it difficult to do justice to everyone. A generally big issue is financesas trees are relatively expensive plants. It is also difficult that the responsibility lies with a few and if these people do not have time, the project stands. In order to be able to divide the responsibility further, more people would have to be brought on board, sufficient knowledge and skills would have to be passed on and a clear plan would have to be drawn up as to what is to be done when and how.

Implementation steps

  • 1. Establish a plan for the year

    For the planning of forest garden action days, one should first consider at which time of year which activities need to be done. This could be roughly:

    • Spring: weeding and planting
    • Summer: mowing and mulching
    • Autumn: planting
  • 2. Promote the event

    Contact local media, post flyers at events, use digital platforms and newsletters.

  • 3. Plan the action day in detail

    3.1 Consider what exactly can / should be done
    3.2 Obtain plants if planting is to be done and draw planting plan
    3.4 Procure appropriate tools and necessary material
    3.5 Plan buffet to feed the participants

  • 4. Realisation of the action day

    4.1 Be on site on time, get an overview and prepare everything necessary.
    4.2 Prepare buffet and protect from animals
    4.3 Prepare tools and other materials
    Welcome people and introduce the forest garden project to those who do not know it yet
    Give a guided tour if necessary / wished
    Tell the people what can be done today and invite them to participate
    Be present, answer questions, guide people in their work, coordinate groups
    4.8 Welcome and introduce people who come late
    4.9 Participate yourself
    4.10 Eat together

4. Conclusions

The project is relevant because it not only contributes to ecological diversity, but also enables people to get in touch with nature, inspires and educates them, raises awareness and fosters community. All of that can help to mitigate climate change. The project is an example for alternative ways of food production, an example for the idea of the commons, of shared responsibility, work and harvest.

Forest gardens themselves, through their perennial mixed cropping systems, cover the soil, offer a great variety of plants, create humus, save water and through all these functions are important in mitigation of adaptation to climate change. To learn about those complex systems enables participants to introduce elements in their private or community gardens. 

To implement a forest garden, it is important to learn about local ecological conditions and acquire knowledge about plants. In planning such a project, it is also useful to look at similar projects and gather experience. Furthermore, it is recommended to network and cooperate with local authorities, the neighborhood and possibly local associations.

Challenging and limiting factors are mainly money and time. But also the organisational part of the project can be complicated and frustrating. It also requires patience because trees take a long time to grow.

Advice / Recommendation

"Before starting a forest garden project it makes sense to look at similar projects and learn from what is already existing".
"In order to implement the project successfully, it is important to have a team. It also makes sense to network with the local administration".