Coltivando – Activism and civic participation

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Coltivando is not only a garden. Coltivando has been networking with other local gardens, associations and schools to promote the gardening activities and the social relevance of green public spaces. From March to July 2013 a group of students and faculty of the Politecnico di Milano together with associations and members of Coltivando conceived ‘Il Sabato della Bovisa – Saturday in Bovisa’, a platform for actions, services, prototyping space, performances hosted at the campus and close to the vegetable garden, to reinforce the goal of bringing the district and the university together. More than two hundred and fifty elementary school children in the neighbourhood came to visit Coltivando during April to observe the growing of vegetables, explore the area and assess the possibility of replicating the project in their spaces. Since December 2012 Coltivando has participated in activities of promotion and interaction organised by ‘ZAC’ a farmers’ market that includes both organic farms and local associations. Then, based on the experience of Coltivando, in January 2014 the first results of ‘In un giardino – In a garden’ were presented to the district. ‘In un giardino’ was a set of co-design activities about eight urban green spaces of the neighborhood, in collaboration with two local associations in the area, active in some of them and with the students of the Final Design Studio both at BSc in Interior Design and MSc Communication/Movie design. In June 2013 at the ‘Agriculture Civic Award’ and in February 2014 at the ‘Ortofebbraio’, Coltivando was submitted to the Urban Gardens category, putting forward the idea that the garden in the city has to be a place for biodiversity, a social incubator of practical knowledge, and a public place that promotes the use of green spaces for food production.(Polimi Desis Lab)

Izindaba Zokudla – Activism and civic participation

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Izindaba Zokudla has been facilitating the NPO (not for profit organisation) registration of the Region D Farmers’ Forum (a collective of 32 farming sites and 300 dependents in Soweto). Though our engagement with them, a process of participatory workshops have enabled high level politicians and farmers to meet and discuss issues face to face. (Design Society Development DESIS Lab)