Spiazzi Verdi is a community garden project aimed at creating and improving a sustainable coexistence between the earth and its inhabitants. Main objectives of the project are to reconnect citizens with urban green areas, to encourage the sense of community and to restore a direct link with the environment. The project allows citizens to grow their own healthy vegetables, therefore decreasing the community’s reliance on fossil fuels and improving the quality of urban life. Located behind the  Church of the Zitelle on the island of Giudecca, Spiazzi Verdi covers around 1500 square meters of land within a large enclosed plot which it shares with a rest home. It contains a large patch of artichokes, a vineyard, a few fruit trees and a large area given over to vegetables of every sort, grown according to the principles of synergistic agriculture. The garden also provides a venue for events and training courses on sustainability and environmental issues.

Objectives and beneficiaries

Spiazzi verdi was born from the desire and the will of several Venetian citizens, united in the conviction of the importance of rebuilding a direct relationship with the green spaces in the urban context, in order to contribute to rehabilitating living natural and social space.

It is a research project that seeks to mend the increasingly harsh divisions of urban life, the gap between the city and nature, producers and consumers, individuals and society. We are motivated by the idea that care for the common good is the most effective, enjoyable way to create the conditions for both individual and collective well-being. An approach that considers it essential to recognize, preserve and promote both natural and social biodiversity. We believe this is possible only if we retrieve a heritage of historical and traditional knowledge by making it active and positive in contemporary life.

The objectives of Spiazzi Verdi are gradually being defined and developed along with the growth of our garden vegetables: from the development of self-study courses on permaculture and organic and biodynamic farming, to experimentation with forms of self-production and sharing, the recovery of abandoned or marginalized crops and the rediscovery of ancient or forgotten varieties, the construction of a network of people interested in cultivating a direct relationship with the land, the activation of cooperation and synergies with institutions and not (schools, municipalities, prisons, purchasing groups, associations, etc.) that make possible, through the direct cultivation by townspeople of plots of land, the rehabilitation of green spaces and the recovery of biodiversity and local traditions.

Strong points of the practice

Spiazzi verdi is a mobile project undertaken by fellow townspeople, whose numbers and activities are constantly evolving. Its aim is to take root in the green spaces of the city and to encourage a friendly community able to interact with the earth, people and the city in a good, clean, beautiful, just fashion. Spiazzi verdi invites everyone to participate.

Expected results and benefits for climate change adaptation and mitigation

Spiazzi verdi gathers the potentials and capabilities of townspeople and urban places around a green space in order to enter a natural cyclical dimension, capable of regeneration and diversification, consolidating bases of self-management and self-sufficiency on a micro-scale. We are discussing and experimenting practices of sustainable living that are in fertile equilibrium: in the relationship with the earth and the various forms of life that share the habitat; in relationship with history and the environmental specificities of place; in the relationship between people who share these contexts together. Spiazzi verdi sows the chance to experiment with alternative forms of economy based on relationships, self-production, sharing, in order to create circuits of exchange that do not necessarily pass by way of a supermarket.

Spiazzi verdi retrieves and revitalize public green spaces, from small parks to simple flowerbeds, reconnecting citizens to their neighborhood, by taking care of goods that are, and must remain, common and communal.

Replicability potential of the practice

Spiazzi Verdi reassembles convivial communities in Venice and beyond. Spiazzi Verdi was born from the desire to reproduce itself elsewhere with others. Our aim is to have a multiplicative capacity through local, autonomous roots inserted in a network of similar initiatives. Since the first experiences and practices of Spiazzi Verdi at the site of our vegetable garden on Giudecca, new relationships and activities have already seen the light in Venice and in other regions of Italy (Veneto, Friuli, Sicily, Lazio, Trentino ...) which we hope will continue to germinate along our way.