Feel warmly welcome to follow our blog where we share stories from Sicilia Integra Project-Based Learning. This is an example of edge work supporting the integration between hosting communities and migrants, they themselves shifting from being the victims of traffickers to agents of change, building a better future, free from poverty and war while supporting the local Sicilian economy.
We have two short films for you to explore the progress of the programme:
See the transformative impact of the first course as told by the community of learners of Migrants and Sicilian Youth, here.
Follow the story of when Migrants and Sicilian youth embarked on the latest 5-week Gaia Education Design for Sustainability programme, focused on the regeneration of abandoned urban lands, here.
Migrant youth and unemployed Sicilians embarked on a two-month learning journey led by Gaia Education, the University of Catania and Il Nodo, with a 5-week Design for Sustainability and Organic Food Systems course and a 3-week field implementation.
The programme took place at the Il Nodo Migrant Welcome Center where both theoretical lessons and field activities were carried out, leading to the design and rehabilitation of an urban garden that had been abandoned for over 20 years. The migrants and Sicilian youth learned how to develop a productive garden oasis system using minimum water and maximum fertility retention, and diverse microclimate opportunities. They recovered an old orchard with lemons, oranges, prickly pears and medlar trees and, by utilising various composting techniques, established a vegetable garden with lettuce, onions, tomatoes, cabbages, broccoli, eggplants in an integrated design.
The course graduates, now empowered with design for sustainability skills, are planning to establish their own cooperative for organic garden management services, with some becoming trainers on urban garden design.
On the 8th and 9th February 2017, London’s authentic Tobacco Dock hosted the second edition of the Lush Summit.
The ancient venue was successfully transformed into an interactive platform, bringing together charities, speakers and grassroots organisations from all around the world whose projects have been funded by Lush.
Open to the general public, the event welcomed activists, campaigners and like-minded people to explore the medley of products, activities, talks and videos organised by advocates for positive change. These groups defend a variety of topical global causes, such as: food sovereignty, animals in servitude, climate & energy and many more. Both Gaia Education and Sicilia Integra found their place in the War & Poverty room, amongst other charities raising their voices for those that the world chooses not to hear.
While cooking up the ancient grain pasta for passers-by to taste, Gaia Education’s May East and Ginny Gegg, alongside Sicilia Integra trainer, Vincenzo Santiglia, recounted the tale of how a group of migrants became empowered by the training in Design for Sustainability & Organic Food Systems offered by the Sicilia Integra programme. Empowered and inspired, the migrants went on to etablish their own social enterprise called ‘Grani di Gaia’, in the heart of Sicily, the home of organic agriculture.
At Grani di Gaia, the migrants, together with master baker Maurizio Spinello and Sicilian youth, carefully mould the ancient wheat into opportunities for joy, hope, courage, trust and peace…
My name is Katerina Skronta, I am from Greece and I graduated from the School of Agriculture at the University of Thessaloniki. I discovered permaculture from two Italian farmers that have lived their lives according to the principles of it. I always wanted to learn more about permaculture and to gain experience working in the farm.
During this course, I learned more than I expected. First of all, I met beautiful people from all over the world. Every day, little by little, we came closer, we shared our stories and started to build a team. This for me was unique because it is the first time that I have tried to build a big project while being a part of a team. I realised the importance of taking into consideration everybody’s opinions and giving everybody the opportunity to express their thoughts. I had also the opportunity to express my own ideas and to dream of how this project would be in the future. I developed my critical thought and every day when the course ended I always had food for thought at home.
From the agricultural point of view, I learned techniques that I am very interested in practicing more in the future. Meeting John Button and Francesca Simonetti who taught us how to design our farm in a sustainable way following the principles of permaculture was very helpful because it showed me that this approach can be successful and efficient.
I would like to thank all the people that helped to accomplish this course wishing to continue working all together for future projects and completing everybody’s dreams.
We are very happy to get these agricultural practices: first of all we thank those who organised the course for us. We learnt about the agricultural checking of land and soil before the planting of fruit and vegetables without any chemicals, and how to make sponge and compost in agricultural practices.
We don’t want to finish this course without working on it, so we want to continue practicing hands on.
We are pleading for companies, organisations, institutes and individuals all over the world to help us to continue this practice to learn more and produce good fruit and vegetables without chemicals for all the world.
The third Sicilia Integra course in Design for Sustainability through Organic Food Production is taking place in Catania, Sicily. Our latest designers for sustainability, a group of migrants and Sicilian youth are already in their third week of training.
Now in the ecological element of the course they are developing skills that will stand them in good stead, whatever the future holds. Working together for an integrated society, these young people are the shining stars for a very bright future.
Find out more on https://www.facebook.com/groups/968968159807185/
Adam; I remember that we were facing difficulties in this last generation and we have to search for the solutions of the difficulties, that’s why we started with Gaia Education to create unity among mankind. Am putting into practice 100 percent of what we learn from the cause and i like everything about the training am doing…
Sambou; The ideas that i remember from the training of the 5 weeks is about the economy and communication. Also practical work where i work here at the bakery but what i like most about training is how to make pasta…