The details were presented at a press conference on the 9th of April, 2024 in the community orchard behind the Józsa Grund Sports Park by Mayor of Debrecen László Papp, Deputy Mayor Ákos Balázs, Departmental Engineer of the Institute of Horticulture, Faculty of Agriculture, Food Science and Environmental Management of the University of Debrecen Anikó Zsiláné André, Member of the Green Working Group and Horticultural Engineer Veronika Szentpéteri-Nagy; former national team soccer player Tibor Dombi and former DVSC soccer player and President of Józsa Settlement and Community Development Association Róbert Juráskó also shared their thoughts.

Mayor László Papp revealed that the Green Working Group and the Future of Debrecen community are now making their old wish come true, because a few years ago they first talked with Deputy Mayor Ákos Balázs about how it would be good to create community orchards in different parts of the city in addition to starting the community gardens program. Ákos Balázs already suggested that the area behind Józsa Grund would be suitable for this purpose.The dream has now become a reality, and if the trees that are still small will really bear fruit in a few years, the design of this garden is an important step. In Debrecen, the community gardens, which are not located in the garden city areas, have also become extremely successful and enjoy incredible popularity.It is great to see the community-building effect that these vegetable gardens have. There is a great need for these community programmes, for working together. László Papp emphasised “the community gardens are now being followed by a community orchard, and the municipality would like to establish such orchards in other parts of the city in the future, for example, in housing estates or in the city centre, in a part of Petőfi Square, to plant a few fruit trees.  

In Debrecen’s first community orchard, 90 free-rooted and 20 container-grown apple, pear, cherry, peach and plum trees of traditional Hungarian varieties, as well as 100 berry shrubs (currants, blackberries, blueberries, josta) were planted. Similar to the existing community gardens, the area was fenced, provided with a water collection point, and was designed with a paved surface that also functions as a community space, on which the city also placed benches, a tool storage house, and a drinking fountain.

The Mayor trusts that the people of Józsa, for example, the members of the garden-lovers circle, will take care of this garden and will be actively involved in the care of this small orchard, the professional care of which will otherwise be basically taken care of by the city, just as it will assume a decisive role in the maintenance of other future community orchards. “Let Jozsians have a good time in this orchard!” László Papp wished.

Deputy Mayor Ákos Balázs said that the city’s Green Codex contains 50 measures. In the public vote, the people of Debrecen supported the plan to continue planting trees with a large number of votes. Within the framework of  Plant 10,000 trees in Debrecen! program, the ten thousandth tree in the city will soon be planted.

The Green Codex objectives include the planting of another 10,000 trees, including fruit trees in community orchards, through the “Urban Orchard” programme. “The community gardens are working very well, one of them  in Vénkert has won the award for the most beautiful community kitchen garden in the country. He then spoke about how the people of Józsa like to work together for good causes. That’s how the idea of the Grund was born, along with the idea of the community orchard. The Deputy Mayor pointed out that many of the measures of the Green Codex will be implemented in Józsa, including the 2 measuring stations of the Environmental Monitoring System, the development of green corridors along Tócó stream and the protection against agriculture airborne dust. Many NGOs from Józsa are still here with us; the Józsa Gardening Circle, the Józsa Settlement and Community Development Association and the next generation, the Green Saint George Circle, ”Ákos Balázs emphasised.

“This garden is also the framework for a new form of cooperation between the city and the university, as the specialists of the Institute of Horticulture of the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Management of the University of Debrecen, as well as many members of the Green Working Group, will hold courses and lectures for the gardeners of the community orchard,” Ákos Balázs said. The call for applications for the future gardeners of the Józsa community orchard will be available on the Deputy mayor’s Facebook page.

Departmental Engineer of the Institute of Horticulture, Faculty of Agriculture, Food Science and Environmental Management of the University of Debrecen Anikó Zsiláné André spoke about how the University of Debrecen is connected to this initiative. First of all, she quoted the words of former Head of Department István Gonda, according to which everyone will be a gardener, it just doesn’t matter when. As time goes on, more and more people realise what a wonderful occupation this is. How wonderful it is that a seed becomes a plant, a stick becomes a tree bearing fruit. Two years ago, the Institute of Horticulture started a program in which they have been trying to teach people the ins and outs of gardening. They hold fruit pruning and seedling training courses and impart knowledge on the design and maintenance of ornamental gardens. The university’s experts will also hold courses and lectures in the orchard in Józsa, including on plant protection. 

Member of the Green Working Group, Veronika Szentpéteri-Nagy  spoke about the fact that so many people want to be “farmers” in the existing community gardens in the city that waiting lists have formed, and new beds had to be created in the Tócóskert. 

The spirit of the groups forming around the gardens is different everywhere, but it will also be different due to the fact that here it is not a vegetable garden, but an orchard. It is important that Hungarian varieties have been added to this garden, and Veronika Szentpéteri-Nagy, as a horticultural engineer, trusts that the gardeners here will also keep the ecological approach in mind. She also highlighted that communities have really formed around the already existing community gardens, people are connected by the green way of thinking, and there is a transfer of knowledge between the young and the older generations. And anyone who thinks in terms of an orchard has faith in the future.

Former national football team player and former footballer of DVSC Tibor Dombi, confirmed the truth of the opinion that as you get older, you like gardening more and more. And while as a child he preferred to just eat the fruits, now he also takes care of them to grow.

President of the Józsa Settlement and Community Development Association Róbert Juráskó emphasised the community-building power of the garden. As he said, his grandfather, his father was also a great fruit grower, and as a child he loved working with them in the garden. And you don’t forget these memories. He wished the communities to be active in the community orchard in Józsa to live  the positive experiences that could define their attitude to gardening for a lifetime and make use of the knowledge acquired here in their own small garden.


Author: Debrecen4U