Harvest of Wetland

2013, July 8

Author: Eugenijus Barzdžius

In 2002, frustrated with the long journey to legal allotments on the outskirts of the City, a self-governed space was established by a group of pensioners on a piece of wetland in Šiauliai city, Lithuania. The 15 elderly people occupied the land, built demarcation lines, erected buildings from scrap materials and dug out a drainage system to create a working allotment.

Every Spring and Autumn, they collectively hire a tractor to plough the land after the last cabbage was harvested or just before the potato planting. Homeless people would sometimes devastate buildings and greenhouses, only for the pensioners to quickly rebuild them from anything they could gather.

For some the allotment is a source of vegetables, berries, fruits that are conserved or pickled for winter. Jars of self-cultivated products are a huge supply for their tables, as a supplement to the meager state given pension that fails to fill stomachs. For others it is kind of a therapy…to escape from four flat walls, to keep the connection with Earth and to prepare the ground for the next generation.