Coorto is a pun that includes three ideas: cooperation, short chain and vegetable garden. What we want to do is to transform agriculture in a opportunity to make people, especially the youngers, socialize, while helping the integration of disadvantaged people. We want to cultivate vegetables, organize workshops on the field and offer the harvest to other members of the association, who are not actively involved, in order to make everybody feel part of this project.
Oglianico, north Italy
COVID-19 contributed to worsen the isolation that our area has already endured. Indeed Italy is affected by strong restrictions. Youngers are probably one of the most impacted social category. They couldn’t go to school during the whole period, therefore they lost lots of opportunities to socialize. We think this is a topic which must not be underestimated. We have planned a specific social change: we have combined the socialization need (respecting rules against the spread of the virus projecting open-air activities), with the necessity to integrate disadvantaged people and with the purpose to attract the interest on the importance to be sustainable in food production and consumption.
We are doing this for fragile people, to make sure they don’t feel isolated, for younger people, to fill the lack of socialization they're feeling and for the population in general to valorize the fields we have. We believe this is a win-win strategy from which everyone will benefit and that will have positive consequences among all the members of our community. Everyone’s contribute in this project matters and we will make sure it will be recognized.
We started to work on this idea on 1st march 2021. At the beginning there was just a field underused and that needed to be cleaned up. During these two months we worked a lot and now we can finally say there is at least a vegetable garden where we have planted salad, potatoes, onions, ribs, green beans, pumpkins, watermelons, strawberries and other products. The idea is to go on planting many other kinds. We plan to plant other vegetables suitable for low temperatures also during winter time. In the next months we would like to start workshops organized by our volunteers according to their competences, like yoga lessons, music therapy and chemistry labs open to all the members of the organization, also the ones who are not volounteering. For now we already thought about a few activities, but to set up others we will need of course, new materials and the financial resources for buying them and for expanding the production and being able to redistribute products to more and more locals. Moreover we would like to plan workshops in which to involve school children and people affected by disabilities.
We expect to improve people standards of living, particularly the ones of young people. First of all, thanks to these activities they will be able to socialize more after the COVID-19 isolation and to do that in a safe space. Secondly, Fermata d’Autobus’ guests are going to be actively involved in order to overcome their difficulties and it will be created a more inclusive environment. Finally, this project aims to educate about the consumption and awareness of biological food cultivated in sustainable ways. We think that this idea is going to enhance the importance of environment and a more efficient way to use natural resources. In fact, we recovered a place that was underused before, and we will work to make it beacome a socially significant field.
Our idea could strengthen active citizenship because of our inclusive ways of creating communication. We are addressing to a local public thanks to networks between people. One of our goals is to reconnect people to the importance of the land, recognized as a social resource. This kind of awareness was lost during the last decades because agriculture was often associated with poverty in the countryside areas where we are developing our project. Our grandparents used to leave agriculture for better job opportunities. Therefore, we decide to rework this idea and to think about a social way of cultivating, that is made possible thanks to cooperation.
The idea started with the necessity to tie together environmental, social and cultural issues. We are actively involving younger people, Fermata d’Autobus’ guests and we are also going to spread our activities all over our community. Most importantly those who participate in our project are also the beneficiaries from many point of view. This is so important because we live in a difficult historical period. There’s a problem related to climate change affecting our society, so we are aiming to show a good purpose that could be followed by others. Another issue that concerns us is the generalized sense of isolation that our citizenship is living right now. We think that it could be relieved through stronger social ties.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
For the implementation of our idea we need photovoltaic panels in order to produce electricity in a sustainable way (between 5.000 and 9.000 EUR) and a compost toilet (around 2.600 EUR). We will need more gardening tools (2000 EUR) as well as a mobile structure for the office (around 7000 EUR). Then it will be useful for us to buy 1.000 L water tanks (around 150 euros each) and will we have to buy materials for our workshops (1000 EUR).
Any advice, comments or feedback from everyone interested in our activities is welcomed! More than that, we want to welcome any constructive criticism that can make us improve in what we are doing.