Proposal code: Pusula / Ππούσουλας-2020-03-90
Community gardens provide opportunities for locals to learn how to grow their own food, eat and share their legacy with their respective communities and neighbourhoods.
As John Donne once said, ‘no man is an island'.
The recent coronavirus outbreak is teaching us the importance of working collaboratively and in solidarity with others for the well-being of the community. As such, we are hopeful that there will be brighter days, and we believe that in order to facilitate this shift, we need to re-design the very systems that pervade us. Moving on from capitalist-driven, individualistic and unhealthy ways of living, to collective, healthy, self-sufficient and resilient communities where citizens care for the commons as well as their own lives.
Let's fill this island with community gardens!
This is an opportunity to learn how to grow your own food, eat and share its legacy with your community.
The idea is inspired by an important element found in the heritage of Cyprus. As a primarily agricultural society, Cyprus used to be based on a sharing economy and on living simply. By encouraging the growth of community gardens across Cyprus, we are essentially reviving some of the values that are close to home.
This concept is further inspired by the resurgence of community gardens in different parts of the world, which are used to encourage healthy living, boost social capital and interaction, collaboration and self-sufficiency amongst (neighborhoods and) communities at large. Greener neighborhoods, especially those with shared green areas encourage social bonding between neighbors, enabling social networks to bloom (Flora, Kreuger & Wolf, 2014). Moreover, as Mr Theopemptou articulates (2010) key benefits include advantages in exercising, improved nutrition and mental well-being.
What is more, community gardens offer a wonderful opportunity to reverse some of the negative connotations found in antagonistic spaces. Imagine replacing former landmines in Cyprus with vegetable havens, or having community gardens blossom across the buffer zone, in alleyways, parks and in forgotten spaces island-wide.
Upon implementation, the possibilities for the sustainability of this project are endless. From cooperatives to workshops, to community gatherings and cross-cultural fiestas, this initiative has the capacity to bring people together, empowering local communities and strengthening feelings of resilience.
We want to engage communities on a micro and macro-scale:
In each selected neighborhood, neighbors will be encouraged to participate (as informal contributors) to support and join the cause, and to ensure the community gardens’ usage and sustainability. This is based on the rationale that nearby residents will have direct benefits from improving aspects of their community, and will thus develop their capacities to identify opportunities as to how to develop facets of each garden, eventually becoming direct beneficiaries of whatever they will reap.
In parallel with the initial inductions offered by selected professionals, we propose an intergenerational exchange program, which will make use of the know-how of retired men and women, targeting those who have the time and skills to teach younger community members how to grow their own food and sustain the community gardens, through a collective approach.
SHORT TERM MEASURES
What needs to happen first:
LONG TERM MEASURES
What needs to happen once the gardens become a reality:
Theopemptou, C., 2010. Φυτέψτε τα δικά σας "Plant your own" [ONLINE] Available at: https://bit.ly/2yCnDtq [Accessed 4 April 2020]
Wolf, K.L, Kreuger, S, & K. Flora., 2014. Place Attachment and Meaning - A Literature Review. [ONLINE] Available at: Green Cities: Good Health https://bit.ly/3dYZ3mO [Accessed 4 March 2020]. College of the Environment, University of Washington.