L’orto della SME @UniTo

A vegetable garden @ the School of Management and Economics -University of Turin

EIT cross-KIC initiative ‘New European Bauhaus’ supports a project of the Department of Management. By the end of 2021, 50 m2 of container gardens will be installed in green areas surrounding the Department of Management (University of Turin). Environmental sustainability, but also inclusion and urban regeneration are at the heart of the project. Join us at https://t.me/+V39i4MwGEZBiMTI8

Information on this project are hosted on Chiara Certomà’s research blog because she is one of the co-proponent and manager of the project. Check out news on the project kick-off and the site clean up initiative.

EIT cross-KIC initiative ‘New European Bauhaus’ supports a project of the Department of Management

Rising levels of food insecurity and malnutrition are among the most significant urban challenges associated with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in European cities. The “New European Bauhaus” (NEB) launched by the European Commission aims to stimulate the post-COVID 19 recovery of European cities and communities by addressing issues such as food accessibility, circularity and urban resilience through the NEB principles of inclusivity, sustainability and quality of experience. The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) supports this initiative through a collaboration of several of its Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs). As part of the EIT Food call for proposals to promote ‘Citizen Engagement‘, the University of Turin, in collaboration with the City of Turin, presented and obtained funding for a project aimed at installing container gardens in the outdoor spaces of the School of Management and Economics.

Urban gardening at School of Management and Economics of the University of Turin

The project involves the active engagement of the community of the University of Turin and the citizens living in the surrounding neighbourhoods in the realization of a container gardening (50m2) project to produce fruits and vegetables for ready consumption. Two targets participant will be selected. A first group includes students, along with the university administrative and technical staff. A second group involves citizens of the neighbourhoods surrounding the University. In particular, retired people and students from local schools who already have a garden and who could contribute to the exchange of good practices gather around the project. Gender equality and social inclusion will be considered as a prerequisite in the composition of the university-citizenry panel.

Main goals of the Orto della SME

The ambition is to create a collective project that involves not only the university community, i.e. students, teaching, technical and administrative staff, but also citizens and people who live in the neighbourhood where the gardens will be set up. The cardinal principles on which the project idea is rooted are: social inclusion and equality, the production of healthy food in urban areas as a means of raising awareness of the need for more sustainable consumption, the exchange of good practices between different communities to promote the empowerment of the parties involved and encourage an intra- and intergenerational flow of knowledge, and sustainability as a strategy for redeveloping spaces and places. Bringing young citizens closer to healthy and self-grown food can help developing greater awareness and encouraging healthier eating habits.

News and activities

3 Feb 2023: hosting students of Université Grenoble Alpes

22 Dec 2022: Xmas Party

1 Oct 2022:Researchers’ Day

8 June 2022: Weeding and cleaning

26 May 2022: Spring “delicatessen

8 April 2022: Spring Aperitif with cleaning up and watering in the garden

30 March 2022: Orto della SME in NEB Community

The Orto della SME have been included in the #EITCommunity innovations selected under the #NewEuropeanBauhaus Initiative!

26th March 2022: FAI [Italian Fund for the Environment] Spring day

The Orto della SME has been exceptionaly open on saturday and sunday for visitors exploring the university buildings on the occasion of the FAI [Italian Fund for the Environment] Spring day .

Feb 2022: Waiting for spring…

On the 9th of Feb 2022 we welcomed the Italian National Television – RAI…soon in the media section (below)!

17 December 2021: Opening day of SME Garden

On Friday 17 December, the Orto della SME was inaugurated. The event was attended by more than 50 citizens who had taken part in the three-months co-design process, which has allowed to gather needs, ideas and suggestions aimed at creating an inclusive and multifunctional space in full compliance with the circular economy paradigm. At the end of the inauguration, representatives of the students and security staff symbolically planted the first seeds, which will give rise to the first crops in the next spring. The next challenge for the project will be to ensure a shared management of the garden that guarantees the proper maintenance of the space and continues to strengthen the sense of community by encouraging the exchange of ideas and experiences.

A quick video guide in English

26 November: Clean Up action

The encouragement of Obiettivo Studenti and AIESEC, was an opportunity to start living the spaces that will host 50 square metres of container gardens from December. Thanks to the collaboration of Amiat Gruppo Iren, which provided technical support for the action, all the material was sent for treatment for recovery. The initiative is one of 12,489 actions carried out in Europe as part of SERR (European Week for Waste Reduction), the environmental communication campaign that aims to promote greater awareness among citizens of the excessive quantities of waste produced and the need to drastically reduce it.

Unfortunately just a couple of weeks after the clean up initiatives in the very same area new waste have been thrown away and we needed to take action again…but we are not giving up!

15 October 2021: Co-design workshop

The co-design workshop was held on 15 October and was attended by around 40 people from both inside and outside the university. The aim of the event was to imagine and design the container gardens and to identify possible solutions for creating an active community around the project. The event was organised in two phases. During the first part of the meeting, the participants were given the opportunity to provide design ideas, illustrating suggestions with the help of a form to be filled in during a field visit. To ensure maximum accessibility to the gardens, the team invited participants to think about an inclusive design, taking into account the needs of potential disabled users. In addition to accessibility, the team suggested prioritising the use of recovered, repaired or recycled materials with a low environmental impact, in order to reinvent space in full compliance with  circular economy principles. The forms were then collected and analysed by the research team, entering the data collected in a SWOT that then provided the guidelines for the space design study. Besides revealing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the project, the SWOT turned out to be a useful tool for combining different perspectives and fostering the transmission of knowledge between different target groups. In the second part of the meeting a focus group was organised, dividing participants  into three different working groups, moderated by the research team, with the aim of identifying: the best solutions to ensure accessibility and manage the use of the space; select crops; managing the garden and social relations at an operational level.

22 September 2021: Focus group and field

On 22 September, study visits were organised (with interested stakeholders) to a number of urban horticultural realities in the Turin area. Specifically, two realities in the Mirafiori South area (Living Lab of the European projects proGIreg and FUSILLI) were analysed: VOV and Orti Generali. VOV is a space that features container gardens where it is possible to grow melliferous plants that attract bees and other pollinating insects. Pollinators, including bees and butterflies, are essential for a healthy, functioning ecosystem. The scientific approach of proGIreg involves citizens in creating, monitoring and promoting awareness of pollinator-friendly spaces. In Mirafiori Sud, in the pollinators’ garden at VOV, a socially inclusive approach is applied, involving citizens in collaboration with doctors and patients from mental health centres to promote pollinator-friendly spaces. Orti Generali is a project that involved the recovery and redevelopment of abandoned areas in Parco Piemonte. It is a vegetable garden area for use by citizens, 2.5 hectares of land used for activities related to social agriculture, including training and job placement. Among the objectives achieved by this project are improving the safety of the area, spreading social aggregation and increasing the productivity of the community. The visits to the two sites made it possible to: take note of the way in which the container gardens were created in order to replicate these solutions in the area proposed for the EIT cross-KIC initiative; understand the way in which the people who look after the gardens are included, in order to create a community capable of looking after and giving continuity to the project.

Press and social

11 mar 2022, Elisir RAI tv, Studenti a lezione di…Orto

1 feb 2022, Italia che Cambia, A Torino studenti e docenti rigenerano spazi abbandonati della città con gli orti in cassoni

3 jan 2022, Lifegate, A scuola di orti urbani con l’Università di Torino

14 dec 2021, Talking Sustainability, Nasce l’Orto della SME: un progetto di rigenerazione urbana presso la Scuola di Management ed Economia dell’Università di Torino

17 dec 2021, Il Torinese, Nasce l’Orto della SME: un progetto di rigenerazione urbana presso la Scuola di Management ed Economia

17 dec 2021, Controluce, Nasce l’Orto Urbano della Scuola di Management ed Economia

17 dec 2021, Creatori di Futuro, Nasce l’Orto della SME: un progetto di rigenerazione urbana presso la Scuola di Management ed Economia dell’Università di Torino

18 dec 2021, ZappataRomana (facebook) Nasce l’Orto della SME a Torino!

20 dec 2021, Alternativa Sostenibile, Nasce l’orto urbano della Scuola di Management ed Economia dell’Università di Torino

21 dec 2021,UniToNews, Nasce l’orto urbano della Scuola di Management ed Economia

7 jan 2022, Ohga! L’Università di Torino riqualifica un’area abbandonata per realizzare degli orti urbani

New European Bauhaus

The New European Bauhaus initiative connects the European Green Deal to our living spaces. It calls on all Europeans to imagine and build together a sustainable and inclusive future that is beautiful for our eyes, minds, and souls.

  • It’s a platform for experimentation and connection, fostering collaboration across thinkers and doers who want to design our future ways of living together.
  • It’s a bridge between the world of science and technology and the world of art and culture.
  • It’s an invitation to change perspective and to look at our green and digital challenges as opportunities to transform our lives for the better.
  • It’s a fresh approach to finding innovative solutions to complex societal problems together through co-creation. The initiative aims to shape our thinking, behaviours, and markets around new ways of living and building, including by influencing public procurement.

The New European Bauhaus will:

  • Bring citizens, experts, businesses, and Institutions together and facilitate conversations about making tomorrow’s living spaces more affordable and accessible
  • Mobilise designers, architects, engineers, scientists, students, and creative minds across disciplines to reimagine sustainable living in Europe and beyond.
  • Strive to improve the quality of our living experience. It will highlight the value of simplicity, functionality, and circularity of materials without compromising the need for comfort and attractiveness in our daily lives.
  • Provide financial support to innovative ideas and products through ad-hoc calls for proposals and through coordinated programs included in the Multi-Annual Financial Framework.

IT Cross- KIC and New European Bauhaus

EIT Cross-KIC will contribute to the New European Bauhaus initiative by addressing urban food systems challenges through open calls for projects directed at implementing innovative activities, educational programmes and citizen engagement. This EIT Cross-Knowledge Innovation Community (x-KIC) Initiative aims to combine aesthetics, sustainability, circularity, and inclusiveness to help deliver the European Green Deal. The EIT Community seeks to contribute to develop innovative and collaborative models of local governance and engage with citizens and local stakeholders in order to identify urban emblematic projects that simultaneously address the challenges of the European Green Deal and post-COVID-19 pandemic response. The EIT x-KICs will undertake actions to mobilise public-private pan-European ecosystems with a focus on developing and supporting talent and skills, through education programmes, and on delivering and showcasing high impact, high-value innovations from their pipelines.  In 2021 the mission will address the following specific objectives:

  • Supporting NEB related entrepreneurs and innovators to test interest, bring their ideas into the market and scale them up.
  • Providing NEB related entrepreneurs and innovators with education resources on entrepreneurship, and thereby spreading the NEB mindset and embedding it into the curricula of the KICs’ partners.
  • Mobilising NEB bottom-up citizen driven initiatives and ideas all across-Europe building on the EIT’s ecosystem as Europe’s largest innovation community.

Project partners

The project is conducted by Laura Corazza, Chiara Certomà, Jacopo Fresta, Luca Battisti and Federico Cuomo. The project has been realised thanks to the support of EIT Food, within the Cross-KIC New European Bauhaus project of the European Commission. It was conceived thanks to the close collaboration of the School of Management and Economics, the Department of Management and the Department of Economic-Social and Mathematical-Statistical Sciences of the University of Turin, with Obiettivo Studenti and AIESEC, and the precious contribution of the City of Turin.

The Department of Culture, Politics and Society and the Department of Agricultural, Forestry and Food Sciences also collaborated. Thanks to the Suingiardino team of landscape architects. The Università degli Studi di Torino (UniTo) is one of the largest Italian Universities, with about 83,000 students (2020/2021), 6.1% of which of non-Italian citizenship, 3.900 employees (academic, administrative and technical staff), 1.800 post-graduate and post-doctoral research fellows. Research and training are performed in 27 Departments, encompassing all scientific disciplines except engineering and architecture. The Campus of Management counts around 10,000 students annually. In 2020/2021, this number is precisely 8,603 for the Department of Management and 1,727 for the Department of Economics.

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