We invite you to read about three initiatives supported by Via grants in the Krkonoš Mountain foothills, which we recently visited.
Community gardening in Janské Lázně
Empty greenhouses at a garden center that had gone out of business sparked the imagination of Klára Stejskalová, who lives in the foothill town of Janské Lázně. She came up with the idea to turning the beautiful site into a community garden – not only to grow vegetables, but as a way of bringing local residents together. Klára has experience with community projects, having planted a community fruit orchard with a group of volunteers, but she was new to gardening.
That didn’t stop her from becoming the leader of the initiative. Klára and her group began planting tomatoes, cucumbers and other vegetables last year. This year, they added flowers, built a chicken coop with 20 chickens and restored a rainwater cistern, which they use to water the plants.
A group of 20-30 residents regularly care for the garden, with occasional help from senior citizens, families and children from the local school. The community gardeners also come together for campfires, dinners and lectures by e.g. experienced gardeners from other towns. Klára comments: “Our community garden is kind of a trial-and-error enterprise. Some things grow better and some things grow worse. It’s also a factor of our climate – we are almost in the mountains here. It was gratifying to hear from other more experienced gardeners that we’re doing pretty well, despite being novices and working on a site in the foothills.”
A breath of fresh air
Covid-19 restrictions on indoor gathering have made community life difficult in many places. In the Trutnov region, two community groups responded by creating new outdoor exercise opportunities for residents.
In the village of Dolní Branné, residents added a petanque court, seating area under a pergola and workout corner to a municipal property undergoing general improvements. Residents got their first chance to try out the quality of the pergola during the site’s grand opening – to take shelter from the rain. Since then, local residents and those from nearby villages have started using the site, too. Residents plan on continuing to improve the site; next year they hope to plant a hedge to block noise from a nearby road.
In the town of Vlčice, residents added a workout corner to a children’s playground which has attracted older children and teenagers to the site. They are planning on installing benches for the elderly next year.