The “Gardeniser Pro” internship program in Rome under the GenerACTOR project to strengthen urban community gardens through international cooperation

From October 10 to 21, 2023, five interns from the “Gardeniser Pro” training program (part of the the GenerACTOR cooperation project co-financed by the European Union), will undertake their internship in Rome. During this period, they will deepen their knowledge of various urban community gardens in the metropolitan area. At the end of this internship, they will have the opportunity to take a verification test to obtain a Gardeniser license, a new key figure in the organization and management of urban community gardens, focused on community and institutional mediation. The internship program includes 40 hours of work in urban gardens with the support of a gardeniser-tutor as a guide. For this occasion, the internships in Rome will be focused on two areas of the Municipio Roma VIII: the Social Urban Gardens Tor Carbone and the Urban Garden “Ortolino.”

The five aspiring Gardenisers (two women and three men) will have the opportunity to engage in dialogue with the Assessor for Agriculture, Environment, and Waste Management of Rome Capitale, Sabrina Alfonsi, the staff of ANCI Lazio, and representatives from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, as well as various community gardens in Rome (OUC, Ort9, OUC Valle dell’Aniene, OUC Arvalia, OUC Valle dei Casali, OUC Via della Consolata, OUC G. Garibaldi).

This hands-on learning experience complements the training initiated in July, 2023 in Colombia. From July 20 to 24, 2023, the first “Gardeniser PRO” course took place in Barranquilla, where 21 community coordinators from five neighborhoods of the city (La Paz, Juan Mina, Las Gardenias, Lipaya, Villa San Pablo) were trained. The rest of the interns who will not be in Rome will continue their training in Colombia, specifically in Cali, Medellín, and Bogotá.

GenerACTOR – “Community Gardens as Generators for Good Governance, Active Citizenship, and Participation” is a development cooperation project co-financed by the European Union (Contract No. CSO-LA-2021/428-386). As the title suggests, the project focuses on creating community gardens, with particular reference to the urban area of Barranquilla, Colombia. It aims to strengthen the multilevel governance of the city and contribute to reducing poverty and food insecurity levels among the most vulnerable communities, especially migrants. In the long term, it aims to promote inclusion and sustainability in urban development in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN’s 2030 Agenda and the Global Green Deal.

Among the training activities, there is a particular initiative open to members representing urban community gardens in Rome. This initiative is dedicated to the implementation of an anaerobic composting system called “Paca Digestora Silva” (a method developed by the Colombian expert Guillermo Silva Pérez). This method involves fermenting organic matter (such as garden clippings and food scraps collected by the same community members who work in the gardens) through manual pressing. It’s a straightforward composting technique that produces soil suitable for cultivation. It represents a community exercise for soil regeneration, offering hope for the return of green spaces, even in areas that have been heavily urbanized, and it can be applied in small neighborhood areas, schools, or businesses that wish to establish gardens where conditions are not favorable.

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