February 2024

Horticulture for special people: the service project “Voices from the vegetable garden”

Horticulture for special people: the service project “Voices from the vegetable garden”

For the third year running, the Winter maintenance works are over in the vegetable gardens of the two daily centers for disabled people managed by Solaris Cooperative at Cusano Milanino and Cinisello Balsamo, and the preparatory activities for Spring are starting.

This service project “Voices from the vegetable garden” is implemented by five volunteer agronomists, two of whom are members of the Rotary Club Milano Nord Ovest and three are their friends: every Friday morning they lead approximately fifteen people with mental and physical disabilities in each center who passionately take part in the project with the support of the excellent tutors of Solaris Cooperative. The weeds have been pulled, the ground dug and raked, the fallen leaves swept away, the flowering bushes pruned and the damaged raised beds are being repaired: Spring is in the air and all anxiously wait for it to start sowing and transplanting and to see nature bloom again under the watchful eye of the two scarecrows which the guests of the two centers built the previous year.

The lessons which take place inside to keep the guests of the centers busy when it rains or it is too cold to work outside have covered as usual topics related to nature and to the food production chain: this year they have included cereals, legumes, textile crops, cash crops, spices, or crops which in the past were part of the farm economy such as sorghum for making brooms.

This service project helps disabled people, who would not be able to follow other types of lesson, acquire small competencies, increase their self-esteem, enjoy outside activities, share their knowledge of plants of daily use, stimulate their interest and understand the working and use of relatively simple equipment such a rain gauge.

Service project coordinators: Luigi Mariani e Barbara Martellini.