A vegetable garden at the Bauhaus

Feeding the folk during the interwar period


In the aftermath of the First World War, Germany was facing a severe food crisis as access to first necessity supplies had been rationalized making edible goods rare and expensive.

For the simple - but vital - need to serve at least one hot meal a day to all the Bauhaus’ students (up to 200 people/meal), in June 1920 Walter Gropius - the school's director at the time - asked the government the permission to cultivate a piece of abandoned land in Dessau to produce food for the Bauhaus kitchen. He was given a 1.65 ha piece of land to help sustaining the school's boarding program.

Two years later, with the help of Bauhaus teachers, students and employees, “24000 square meters of arable land and more than 7000 square meters of gardens were used to grow: 2.5 tonnes of wheat, 8 tonnes of potatoes, 400 kg of peas, 500 kg of beans, 100 kg of lentils, one tonne of onions, one tonne of carrots and beetroots, one tonne of cabbage, 500 kg of tomatoes and 2000 cucumbers, as well as lettuce, spinach and other vegetables”.


Kurt Schmidt, Bauhaus Exhibition Postcard No. 19, 1923 Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Association Fund, BR49.640 source

The Bauhaus #isalldesign, exhibition catalogue, Vitra Design Museum GmbH and authors, 2015, p. 65; Michael Erlhoff, Timothy Marshall, Design Dictionary: Perspectives on Design Terminology, Birkhauser, 2008, Berlin, p.40;

Published: 23 Jan. 2017

#Pioneers #Education #Bauhaus #VegetableGardens #InCommonFacilities #FeedingTheFolk #TheGreenImperative

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