By Salavatore Timpanaro
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.