Orti Generali is an urban food garden in the south area of Turin. The aim of the project is to build a model of social enterprise for the transformation and management of residual agricultural areas within the Turin Metropolitan District. The project’s two main guiding principles are: ecological sustainability and social equity.
Orti Generali is situated within an urban fringe, post-industrial neighbourhood and is located not far away from the Mirafiori FIAT Factory. The Orti Generali is a remnant of a once more extensive, agricultural landscape and the area has recently been rehabilitated as an urban park (Parco Piemonte).
The land, which has been under Municipality ownership, was formerly occupied by informal gardens. In recent years, a regeneration project has been supported through participatory processes which have involved diverse stakeholder groups. These have included the municipality, voluntary associations, gardeners, volunteers and local residents. In 2016, an area of 3 hectares was assigned to the Association Orti generali ASP under a 15 year leasing agreement.
Under the agreement, two sub-areas have been identified: the vegetable garden space and the educational and training activities space. Agricultural land of 2 hectares in area has been transformed here into 167 separate allotments (individual and collective gardens) and communal greenspaces.
To encourage greater social diversity, there are special low rental prices for people under 35 and communal gardens are allocated on the basis of a token rate, offered in exchange for an agreed amount of voluntary labour. The gardeners are supported by experts including an agronomist. The Education Centre, a building rehabilitated by volunteers, includes an apiary and a “synergic” garden.
The gardens are cultivated exclusively through organic methods and in order to reduce water consumption, are also equipped with a centralized irrigation system. Orti Generali has also been involved in Nature Based Solutions (NBSs) through the EU Horizon 2020 project: “productive Green Infrastructure for post-industrial urban regeneration” (ProGIreg) (see: https://progireg.eu/turin/).