Accepted paper:

From project to process: school gardens as vehicle for territorial sustainability. A case study from the Milan metropolitan area


Rositsa Ilieva (Politecnico di Milano)
Sara Tommasi
Davide Sironi

Paper short abstract:

Advancing towards the 2015 EXPO, a bottom-up design and social experience in the Milan metropolitan area promotes schools' garden network as a strategic mean for food education and sustainability values transmitting. A vertical garden catalyzes a process of private-public shared objectives pursuing.

Paper long abstract:

The study will examine at first the great importance of food education by framing it in the wider context of some globally present critical phenomena. Accelerated urban population growth, dramatic shrinking of rural areas and food systems as well as progressive unsustainability are today profoundly altering our territories and ways of living. A key occasion for a worldwide reflection upon the latter is represented by the Milan 2015 EXPO, that however should be imagined not as limited temporal event but instead should be a stimulus for creating a higher awareness. Accordingly to this vision, in its core a part of the paper will analyze a bottom-up design and social experience, located in the Milan metropolitan area, that chooses the schools' network as a strategic mean for both future generations education and adult public sensitizing. In particular, the study will illustrate how a micro-architectural project (vertical garden prototype), if intended as a process (discussion and action catalyst involving simultaneously designers, public and private actors, and children), has the potential to address in effective way the poor conditions of current food education. The vertical garden, realized by the same students, is in fact conceived as a starting point for exploring broader themes like: food systems, water in urban environment, food packaging and recycling. Thus, the process goes beyond the school garden boundaries and aims at real positive impact for the overall territorial development. Within the conclusive section the paper will discuss the main difficulties to tackle with, and the potentialities to be valorized and experimented in other contexts.

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Food from kindergartens