ZUPlabmini and via Cenni: Cultivating transformation

agosto 5, 2014

What is a vegetable garden for me? With what values do I want to feed myself? Which wishes do I want to plant/seed? These are some of the questions that  have articulated the steps of the ZUPlabmini workshop in Via Cenni, a social housing project in the West of Milan. The goal of this workshop was to work, together with a motivated group of inhabitants, on the design and realisation of the vegetable garden that will be used to share and collaborate.
Cenni 021
ZUP The Recipe for Change has proposed a workshop of co-design to elaborate the idea to create a shared garden on the terraces of their apartment building, The workshop was part of the project CenniColtiva! (the apartment is in Via Cenni, coltivare is the Italian word for cultivation) organised by Food in the Streets under the commission of Life 10 – ECO Courts (ECOlogical COurtyards United for Resources saving through smart Technologies and life Styleand supported by the Fondazione Housing Sociale.

On the last Saturday of March 2014, together with Inge (read her report here) we had only a few hours to execute a ZUPlabmini – the circumstances asked for a flexible approach from our side – in which the participants slowly discovered their personal report between their wishes and expectations related to the garden. In only a few hours the different groups defined a theme and found a name for the gardens on the four communal terraces of Via Cenni. Giving a name means finding the voices and the vocations of a place, for a garden like this one, shared by a coloured community, multi-generations and participative. Implicitly with a name one discusses the future, the continuity of a curated action and ZUP has also worked on this: from how to appropriate a space to the development of the project itself.

We collected words, ideas, desires. About twenty participants on a sunny Saturday morning have shared their expectations on the garden project. They put down a list of wishes, images and later flavours, smells colours, herbs and flowers. From the ingredients of their project, the final sum of their imagination plus concrete earth, we have defined a list of ingredients, to create a recipe that is and also explains the project.

The four recipes of Via Cenni are the soup of the Mediterranean, Zupapo’, Astrozuppa and Brave flavours in Rime.

The four shared gardens have different names and different stories. A recall to the Mediterranean to follow a list of aromatic herbs, or to the effervescence and sympathy of the group of woman (the patatasgirls) that look forward to cultivate peppers and poetry. There were groups that have taken an image as starting point, others a memory. That is how one group ended-up with a soup called Bahay – Kubo, which in Philippian means House between the vegetable gardens. Last but not least the Garden under the stars (Orto sotto le Stelle or Garden under the Stars) inspired by a colourful flowers called astronano.

For those who like to read the recipes we suggest you to download them here Assaggi di Via Cenni_Il ricettario di ZUP” (in Italian).

For this beautiful experience, a new direction for ZUP The Recipe for Change, we thank all the enthusiastic participants that not only designed bu will also take care of the gardens, and Food in the StreetsLife ECO Courts – Cortili ecologici and Fondazione Housing Sociale, for their assistance, the guidance, the coordination and their support.

Ps. Two weeks after the ZUPlabmini, the participants got a technical lecture by Orti d’Azienda to learn them how to take care of their garden, and of course they planted their first real seeds. If you are curious to read what happened there, we suggest to follow the link that brings you to the blog in which Food in the Streets gives you a report.

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