plants 1

Photo: Daniel Münderlein

The Gardenisera new profession

What is a “gardeniser”? The term comes from the union of the words “garden” and “organizer” and the Replay Network Training Agency, based in Rome, describes it as:  NOT a technician, NOT a landscape designer, NOT an expert, NOT a facilitator, NOT a trainer, NOT a counsellor, NOT a friend. 

It is however, the sum of all these roles combined !”.  The need for such a professional figure within an urban garden is understood when we look at the evolution of the phenomenon of urban agriculture in European cities. Through community gardens, citizens play an active role in developing sustainable lifestyles and places within their cities, becoming the main actors for community empowerment and contributing also to their own wellbeing. 

It is precisely through the new concept and role of urban gardens, that the role of the “gardeniser” comes into play: a key coordinating figure holding a position midway between an educator and a technician; a mediator between the gardeners and the institutions, with a role in the management and the organization of urban gardens to ensure their ongoing sustainability. 

Three EU funded projects (EU’GO, GARDENISER and GARDENISER PRO) have identified this key role, the core skills needed, the required legitimacy for its transfer to other European cities and the creation of a European training format in the VET field. However, it is through RU:RBAN that this key structural training element finds a mechanism which allows integrationinto public policies. The project has embedded such gardeniser Vocational Training activity, Capacity Building and Governance, within its key elements. 

Four very successful gardeniser training sessions hosted in 2019, through Transnational Meetings of the project (Rome, Caen, Loures and Thessaloniki), followed a “learning by doing” methodology. This focused upon on the core skills of the role: decision-making, trust-building, communication and conflict-management. These were a great success for RU:RBAN and evidence of its impact upon the territory.