Architect and Social Researcher – EPP* ExposeProposePoliticise
The Salento Botanical Garden extends for about 13 hectares east of the city of Lecce, in an area previously used for grazing sheep. Created 10 years ago, the garden became a public good – managed by a foundation with public participation – but remained dormant for years.
Then, in 2016, a group of volunteers created a synergistic vegetable garden of about 1,500 square meters inside the 13 hectares of the botanical garden. Synergistic gardening, a type of organic agriculture strongly influenced by permaculture, uses the natural fertility of the soil and maintains that fertility through natural processes rather than human intervention.
Team Lecce saw the garden as an opportunity to create a new concept of public space in their region. Their goal: to transform the botanical garden into a hub for food growing, learning, research, and future planning of urban green areas.
“The garden is a place where the community can experiment with innovative and local responses to climate change; where they can reconnect with local traditions and a healthy diet, based on local food biodiversity and short food supply chains.”
Through the project, Team Lecce is facilitating a synergistic agriculture training program, natural architecture and medicinal plants workshops, open gardening days, and community events.
In this way, they hope to provide an integrated vision of natural ecosystems, social dynamics and space transformation: creating new narratives for the Botanical Garden as a space for citizen participation and mutual learning.