The potential of urban gardening extends from strengthening the local economy and improving the quality of the environment in urban neighborhoods to enhancing the socialization and empowerment of the most vulnerable groups. KMOP – Social Action and Innovation Center, realizing the benefits that the creation and maintenance of urban gardens can provide to society as a whole, implements in cooperation with five European civil society organizations (Portugal, Germany, Iceland, Lithuania, Northern Macedonia), the European Erasmus+ program URBAN – Engaging Youth with Urban Gardening Activities.
The aim of the URBAN project is to enable young people who belong to vulnerable social groups or are at risk of social exclusion to be actively involved, socialized, and empowered. In this context, an innovative educational method has been developed to improve personal, social, and digital skills. The means to achieve this goal is gardening and the collaboration of young people who are either in the same local communities or in different countries and collaborate remotely, through technology solutions.
At the present stage of the project, the creation of a Curriculum (O2) for the provision of specialized training in urban gardening has been completed and includes the Trainer’s Manual, which aims to guide the Youth Trainers in how to approach and help young participants wishing to be trained in the field of agricultural activities in urban areas. This Handbook has been compiled using data from the research of the already available material for urban agriculture as well as from the data analysis for the development of the “ECO-URBAN Gardening” Manual, which took place in the URBAN partner countries and it is an easy-to-use guide to creating urban gardens, covering both technical issues and approaches to urban gardening methodologies.
In addition to the Curriculum, at this stage of the URBAN project, the creation of the educational material for the development of urban gardening courses for young people has also been completed. The Training Curriculum on Urban Gardening for Youth (O3) is aimed at young people who want to learn more, be educated, network, and participate in urban farming activities.
The supervision for the creation of the specific Curriculum was undertaken by XWHY (Lithuania), while all the partners participated in its implementation. The creation of the educational material for the development of urban gardening courses for young people was coordinated by BUPNET GMBH (Germany), with the participation of all the partners of the URBAN project.
The material of the Curriculum and the Manual is available from today on the special Platform that has been created for the purposes of the project. It is worthy to note that a particular innovation of URBAN is the provision of interaction opportunities through this e-learning platform, as well as the development of a mobile application (URBAN app) – available for iOS and Android – which will be completed in the very next stage of the project and, between others, will contain: i) a list of urban gardening related events in each partner country, ii) an easy way to get in contact with other urban gardeners, exchange tips and tricks and iii) find local initiatives to meet up at.
About the project
Urban gardening is a way to stimulate positive and local dynamics and create a sense of community amongst people who believe that the environment plays a fundamental role in the ecosystem and climate change adaptation. By participating in the setting up and maintenance of urban gardens, vulnerable young people will engage, connect and feel empowered thanks to the knowledge they will acquire. The main goal of project URBAN is to encourage active participation and education of the local community members – including disfavoured and threatened with exclusion youth people and local youth e.g., migrants, long-term unemployed people – through setting up and maintaining the urban gardens. Additionally, the project will elaborate an innovative educational method to teach soft skills by garden working to future youth farmers, e.g., interpersonal communication, teamwork, management and planning.