Sustainable Community Gardens Require Social Engagement and Training: A Users’ Needs Analysis in Europe
1.1. Civil Engagement, Education, and Lifelong Learning in Urban Agriculture (UA)
- Formal learning usually takes place in schools, universities, or training institutions and leads to a diploma or certificate.
- Non-formal learning includes free adult education within study circles, projects, or discussion groups advancing at their own place, with no examination at the end.
- Informal learning can be found everywhere, for example, in families, in the workplace, in non governmental organizations (NGOs), in theatre groups, or can also refer to individual activities at home like reading a book.
1.2. Goal and Objectives
2.1. Users’ Needs Analysis
2.1.1. Data Collection
2.1.3. Data Analysis
2.2. Identification of Practices
2.3. Study Areas
2.3.1. UA in Berlin (Germany)
2.3.2. UA in Bologna (Italy)
2.3.3. UA in Budapest (Hungary)
2.3.4. UA in Cartagena (Spain)
3. Results and Discussion
3.1. Global Users’ Needs in Europe
3.2. Regional Assessment
3.3. Community Gardening Practices towards Social Engagement and Education in Europe
3.3.1. Berlin: The Allmende-Kontor
3.3.2. Bologna: Via Gandusio Community Rooftop Garden
3.3.3. Budapest: The ZUGkert Community Garden
3.3.4. Cartagena: The Campus UPCT Community Garden and the CEAMA Reference Garden
4. Policy Recommendations
- Community garden programs should include training courses towards ensuring that both managers and users acquire the specific skills required for a successful implementation of a project.
- Programs supporting community gardens should envision the plurality of experiences and their diverse goals.
- The implementation of a top-down project must include follow-up interventions to ensure the proper development of the activity once the initial support ends.
- Partnerships with knowledge providers (e.g., universities, local associations) can fulfil the training gaps in certain skills, such as gardening skills or communication skills.
- Urban agriculture programs must embrace the interdisciplinarity required for a successful design and development of policies and projects, where plural backgrounds are essential (e.g., agronomy, urban planning, social mediation, economy, communication).
- The implementation of community gardening may ensure the availability of different types of resources (e.g., land, funding) and evaluate how the implemented activities can access them once the administrative support ends.
- In particular, land access can be a constraint for community gardening initiatives as municipal programs do not guarantee land access for a long term, but only for short-term interventions (e.g., two years) . Therefore, policies promoting such activities should focus on overcoming such barriers and developing mechanisms to guarantee long-term land access.
- City-scale policies around urban agriculture might consider the creation of a network of experiences in order to enhance the exchange of knowledge and experiences among practitioners.
- The integration of urban agriculture within city plans cannot overlook the local environment, the existing experiences, and the motivations behind gardening. Depending on the city context, urban agriculture may be mainly driven, for instance, by the citizen needs (e.g., to perform open-air activities, to engage in political actions, to create social relationships, or to improve to living quality of a neighborhood). Understanding the role and functions that urban agriculture can play in each city and region may allow to design effective policies and achieve long-term sustainability of the interventions.
Conflicts of Interest
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|NAQ1 (Trainers)||NAQ2 (Gardeners)|
and community building
of the community
|Bologna (Italy)||n = 30|
Most of the people involved in the survey were males and females aged between 20 and 40.
|n = 90|
Most of the people involved in the survey were males and females aged from 40 to 70 years old.
|Berlin (Germany)||n = 30|
People involved in the survey were 27% male and 73% female, in the range of 28–67 years of age.
|n = 30|
People involved in the survey were 21% male and 79% female, aged from 30 to 40 years old.
|Budapest (Hungary)||n = 30|
People involved in the survey were males and females in the ages between 20 and 65 years old.
|n = 30|
People involved in the survey were males and females in the age of 20–65 years old.
|Cartagena (Spain)||n = 30|
People involved in the survey were males (36%) and females (64%) in the age range of 30–67 years old.
|n = 30|
People involved in the survey were males (36%) and females (64%) in the age range of 30–67 years old.
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Ochoa, J.; Sanyé-Mengual, E.; Specht, K.; Fernández, J.A.; Bañón, S.; Orsini, F.; Magrefi, F.; Bazzocchi, G.; Halder, S.; Martens, D.; Kappel, N.; Gianquinto, G. Sustainable Community Gardens Require Social Engagement and Training: A Users’ Needs Analysis in Europe. Sustainability 2019, 11, 3978. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143978
Ochoa J, Sanyé-Mengual E, Specht K, Fernández JA, Bañón S, Orsini F, Magrefi F, Bazzocchi G, Halder S, Martens D, Kappel N, Gianquinto G. Sustainable Community Gardens Require Social Engagement and Training: A Users’ Needs Analysis in Europe. Sustainability. 2019; 11(14):3978. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143978Chicago/Turabian Style
Ochoa, Jesus, Esther Sanyé-Mengual, Kathrin Specht, Juan A. Fernández, Sebastián Bañón, Francesco Orsini, Francesca Magrefi, Giovanni Bazzocchi, Severin Halder, Doerte Martens, Noemi Kappel, and Giorgio Gianquinto. 2019. "Sustainable Community Gardens Require Social Engagement and Training: A Users’ Needs Analysis in Europe" Sustainability 11, no. 14: 3978. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143978