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Castel Guelfo di Bologna, Italy

Gasperi D.,Biodivercity Onlus | Gasperi D.,University of Bologna | Giorgio Bazzocchi G.,University of Bologna | Bertocchi I.,Housing Policies Innovation and Development Unit | And 2 more authors.
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2015

"Urban Agriculture (UA) is an activity that produces, processes, and markets food and other products, on land and water in urban and peri-urban areas, applying intensive production methods, and (re)using natural resources and urban wastes, to yield a diversity of crops and livestock" (UNDP, 1996). UA began to develop with the urbanization process, that is, moving of people from villages and farms to cities. Initially the activity was generally practiced for income-earning or food producing but gradually the concept of urban agriculture expanded to ecological, social, educational and even "therapeutic" aspects. The multifunctional role of agriculture and in particular of vegetable and fruits production (horticulture) in most of European urbanized areas is officially recognized at the beginning of the 1980s. Since then an increasing number of associations and hobbyists are working in this field, creating a new style of consumption based on self-production of food. In the specific case of Bologna, this has resulted in 3,000 spot gardens (land plot of approximately 30-40 m2 each for growing vegetables, fruits, flowers, ornamental shrubs or trees) grouped in 20 main community allotments, controlled by municipal administrations and assigned mainly to elderly people. However more and more often their management involves young people (usually unemployed), immigrants, women and several social associations. The community gardens have therefore became an example of places where people meet, discover old and new production techniques and exchange traditions and cultures. Source

Piovene C.,Biodivercity Onlus | Marchetti L.,Biodivercity Onlus | Draghetti S.,Horticity S.R.L. | Draghetti S.,University of Bologna | And 3 more authors.
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2015

Children's understanding on the origin of food is nowadays affected by marketing and advertisements. Horticultural gardens in school may improve children's knowledge about nutrition and the importance of the proper use of natural resources. Simplified soilless gardens may represent an extremely effective educational tool since they allow practical descriptions of biological and biochemical processes related to plant life and growth. Furthermore, due to their independence from fertile soils, the high planting density, and the low labor requirement they represent a viable solution for most urban schools. Starting from 2012, the Giardini in Rete project aims at the introduction of a simplified soilless garden in a secondary school of Bologna to promote biodiversity and urban green landscape. In the present paper the model for setting up a didactic hydroponic vertical garden and the students' responses are addressed. Source

Marchetti L.,Biodivercity Onlus | Piovene C.,Biodivercity Onlus | Cesarali A.,Biodivercity Onlus | Bertocchi I.,Housing Policies Innovation and Development Unit | And 3 more authors.
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2015

Since 2007, most people of the world live in cities. Urban agriculture, and more specifically urban horticulture may allow improvements in food supply and reduce the city ecological footprint. Furthermore, gardening practices are associated with social and therapeutic effects. In the last decades, as a consequence of the increased awareness on its related benefits, urban horticulture has assumed a paramount role in defining the city landscape. It is true, however, that within cities, the main constraint to the expansion of agriculture is represented by land availability and soil fertility. Simplified soilless gardens are getting more popular worldwide since they allow cultivation in courtyards, small gardens, walls, balconies, and rooftops, also by intensifying production per surface area, since plants are provided with nutrient and water according to their needs. Moreover, simplified soilless systems may use low-cost recycled materials to build growing containers, and through the adoption of closed cycles water-and nutrientsefficiency is improved. Starting from 2011, the Greenhousing project aims at the introduction of soilless gardens in the rooftop of public housing buildings of the city of Bologna, Italy. In the present paper the beneficial elements of multifunctionality of these gardens will be outlined. Source

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