Five urban cultivation sites now managed by people with disabilities

The project started in April 2016 and has spread to different parts of the city, with six social entities taking part. The initiative enables unused rooftops of municipal facilities to be put to alternative use as cultivation areas in a city as dense as Barcelona.

20/12/2018 16:00 h

Ajuntament de Barcelona

The cultivation areas are managed by fifty people with different types of disabilities and form part of the project coordinated by the Municipal Institute for People with Disabilities. The initiative has successfully spread to different parts of the city, involving six different social entities and helping the network of associations in the city’s neighbourhoods.

The cultivation patches are used to grow different types of lettuce, spinach, greens, chard, tomatoes, peas, courgettes, cucumbers, peppers and different fragrant plants. The vegetables are good quality and any surplus is passed on to soup kitchens and food banks, a twofold social use which takes advantage of unused rooftops and also greens up the city.

The latest two cultivation patches are on rooftops of municipal buildings at C/ Avinyó 7 and 15, in the district of Ciutat Vella. The one at number 15 is the first of the five to be run by people with physical disabilities and is also the first to be completely accessible. Two of the other patches are at the district office in Sants-Montjuïc and the other is in C/ Valencia, in the district of L’Eixample.

The City Council’s goal is to double the number of rooftops being used for cultivation purposes and reach ten in the near future, to increase the number of people with functional diversity taking part in the programme, to make it easier for them to be involved in running the patches and to carry out more social and environmental research to assess the ecological impact of the initiative.

Benefits in terms of quality of life for people with disabilities

A study published in September by professionals from the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (belonging to the UAB), the Barcelona Laboratory for Urban Environmental Justice and Sustainability, the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute and ISGlobal showed that participation in the project has considerable benefits in terms of the quality of life and personal development of people with disabilities.

Worth noting is the empowerment of these people, who move from being receivers of assistance to providers of assistance when they voluntarily pass on surplus produce which is the result of their efforts to soup kitchens and food banks.

In addition, accessing the rooftops has allowed them to discover new urban environments, break away from daily occupational workshop routines, be outdoors, work as a team, boost their self-esteem and take on more responsibility. It has also been observed how useful the programme is in reducing nervousness and anxiety which people suffer in some cases, improving their capacity to relax and develop patience and self-control as practical tools for everyday life.

 

 

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