Digging Deep: learning by seeding
Digging Deep, an International project co-funded by the European Commission within the framework of Youth in Action programme, action 3.2, has already covered half of its journey. Since December 2013, the 4 partners involved in the project (CESIE – coordinator – Italy, KID PiNA – Slovenia, CANGO – China and IYEC – Ghana), are carrying out local and international activities, aimed at exploring urban gardening as a means of social inclusion addressed to the youngsters, in order to develop their skills in specific fields. Moreover the project activities are stimulating their active participation, encouraging them to be more aware of sensitive issues, such as environmental and food sustainability.
During the kick-off meeting, which was held in January in Beijing, partners had the chance to plan all the project stages and related results in detail. The product would include:
- Urban Gardening Handbooks, including tutorials how to realize urban garden
- local urban gardens where to hold workshops with local community;
- a website featuring urban garden diaries (illustrating the development of the 4 urban garden) and a online platform where people interested in the project topic can share any ideas.
The real protagonists of this project are the young people. In fact, in each partner country the local working groups are composed of 8 people, amongst them young agronomists, trainers, cartoonists, youth leaders and unemployed, marginalised or migrant youngsters. The project foresees a synergic collaboration among these youths; by non-formal education, they will organize local workshop aimed at education and social inclusion.
The youngsters – participating in the project – have met project local coordinators in Palermo, during an International workshop which took place from April 13th to April 18th. Here participants discussed about the researches they carried out regarding urban gardening: urban garden as a means of both non-formal education and social inclusion, different ways to develop them (vertical, traditional, balcony gardens, etc.), the use of recycling materials to use for urban garden, agricultural techniques such as permaculture. Furthermore participants visited Italian working group’s urban garden where they encountered a local consortium, working on community gardens (CODIFAS). This meeting was particularly interesting, because it helped groups to come up with new ideas that would inspire their further activities.
…going through local urban garden…
By involving local community, each partner has founded clubs, thanks to each local working group’s activities . Each club is working on its own urban garden. For this reason, each of them features different characteristics. Local clubs are not striving to produce an outstanding harvest, however they wish to promote social inclusion and active participation within their communities, by planning different workshop actions. For example, in Palermo (Italy), the garden is located in a community garden, next to one of the most socially and economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods. In order to answer emergent educational needs, the group has designed this space as a tool for garden-based learning, in addition it has also a disabled-accessible portion. Slovenian local working group is cultivating its own garden in an abandoned area, as they are contributing to the restoration of a former industrial space. Chinese urban garden has been built in an old factory, by making use of recycled materials. Ghanese working group is cultivating a garden in Accra suburbs (Japan Motors) and some smaller ones in a parish and in schools.
…ending in Africa!
In the upcoming months, new workshops will be held, along with a public local event in each partner country. The last one aims at promoting the project, its results and its guidelines. The project acme will be a final international workshop, taking place in Accra (Ghana) by the end of October. During this event, participants will take part in the Harvest Festival: they will present their local outcomes, and their Urban Gardening Handbooks, curated by our skilled cartoonists during the project.