Pilot project manager:
University of Naples
Portici, Naples, Italy
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Social-therapeutic gardens for local sustainable productions
The cooperative “Litografi Vesuviani” was created in the province of Naples, in 2000, from a project funded by the EC (HORIZON) based on training of users of the local Mental Health Unit. Today, the cooperative, carries out different activities, including the training of workers in the field of social agriculture. In this regard, the “Orto dei Vesuviani” was created in 2016 in Portici, a densely populated Municipality within the Metropolitan area of Napoli, and covers about 1100 m2. It is a concrete example of a “social garden”, dedicated to the cultivation of vegetables and plants typical of the Vesuvian landscape, under organic production and circularity principles. The garden is a space open to all, where the main beneficiaries are people dealing with mental illnesses. UNiNA has long-term experience in the cultivation of numerous local varieties of horticultural products (leafy and fruity vegetables, microgreens) and edible flowers, as well as in carrying out research, training and dissemination activities. The role of the UniNA team will be to collaborate and support the cooperative on these aspects, as well as to define and establish robust production systems and sustainable cultivation protocols involving local organisations, stakeholders, consumers and citizens.
The Garden represents a perfect place for “horticultural therapy” through the cultivation of local vegetables and fruit tree species, aiming to the work creation for disadvantaged categories and to their rehabilitation. The social growers develop specific practical skills and theoretical knowledge and complete an autonomous and conscious path that, through orientation and training actions, aims at the recovery of individual, work and socio-affective skills. The garden products are available to a Solidarity Purchase Group including more than 70 families in the area. Subscribers can book vegetables according to their needs, which will be picked fresh and, on request, delivered to their homes through a “social delivery” service, because fragile people are always involved. Further implementations of the site includes the creation of a brunch spot in the social garden where locally grown fresh products can be consumed (with small meals, brunches, smoothies) to attract and engage young people into sustainable food systems and make them more conscious consumers. Expected job creation opportunities/training activities for 3/15 socially disadvantaged citizens in farming activities; more than 200 local citizens and stakeholders engaged in outreach events.