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LUISS Guido Carli

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A shared garden becomes a greenhouse for social innovation

On November 26, 2014 the project from the students at LabGov will be inaugurated at Viale Romania

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Experience an innovative cultural and educational model, learn to share tools and strategies, and solidly reshape our future together. This is the mission of the LUISS shared garden, which was created a few months ago at the Viale Romania campus. The garden, which will be inaugurated on Wednesday, November 26, 2014, is open to students, associations, faculty and staff.

Conceived of and looked after by the students at LabGov, the garden is a greenhouse for social innovation, a model of collaborative green governance, and is designed to unite three areas of research: the environment, agriculture and nutrition. One of its goals is to reclaim the land as a common good, and for this reason it requires the collaboration of all of the members of the university, from its governance to its students, with the help of the experts at Zappata Romana, a project created in 2010 to map out and promote shared gardens in Rome.

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Aside from daily work in the garden, the LabGov project is divided into co-working events, where students learn to use appropriate tools, identify plants and understand what are the best times to plant. "In the first two days of field work," explains Erika Munno, a LUISS student and tutor at LabGOV, "we planted the first seeds, from simple vegetables such as potatoes and peas to more unusual crops. Around thirty students participated in this first month of prep work, with the help of the LUISS gardeners: we split up the work, some of us handle inventory, others mapping, maintenance and planting. But the goal is to create a manual of internal rules for cooperation, so that whoever wants to participate can do so.”

A participatory project open to everyone, from experts in gardening to those who are simply curious, one that will be enriched by a number of related activities, not just for cooperation but for building relationships and the LUISS community. One type of activity will be social eating events, to spend time together and encourage the development of a new awareness of agribusiness and food and wine.

“Together we will decide how to manage the land, implement ideas and projects, establish management strategies and create a model on a reduced scale of what we would like to accomplish tomorrow even outside the walls of the university,” explains Federica Maranesi, a LUISS graduate and LabGov coordinator. “The secret? It’s simple: working together! The great thing is that we can already start doing it now, without feeling like we are stuck waiting for a different tomorrow, as unfortunately happens to many of our peers.”

A philosophy that can be applied to the administration of a garden as well as that of a city, a landmark, a territory or a community. "When I began my university studies," Erika tells us, "one thought haunted me: I was given a world that I didn’t like – or so I said to myself – and I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to change it.”

Before the inauguration, during which the students will present the project and the work they have done so far, the No More Waste prize will be given out in conjunction with LUISS Sostenibile. General Manager Giovanni Lo Storto, Executive Vice President Luigi Serra, the chef Peppe Zullo, the symbolic "godfather" of the garden (who was chosen to represent Apulian cuisine at Expo 2015) and the radio personalities Fede&Tinto from Radio2 will take part in the ceremony.

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