Community-based urban farms and gardens


Post-industrial areas often lack green spaces for public use. Turning unused urban land into productive community gardens can have a positive impact on locals, contributing to improved mental and physical health through exposure to nature and healthy sources of food and a community feeling.


In Turin the local proGIreg team was busy with various initiatives to bring more greenery and social cohesion to the area:


Abandoned parts of the Sangone Park were redesigned and used for community urban gardens. The aim was to improve the safety of the area and encourage community activities and productivity. In the Piemonte Park, 2.5 hectares of land were used for social farming activities including teaching, training and for job placements.

The team introduced more greenery to public residential areas in the shape of wooden boxes for vegetable gardens (see photo). Learn more from the 'gardens within housing' factsheet. Together with local children and teachers, the teams also created several vegetable gardens and micro-gardens in boxes in schools and kindergartens across Mirafiori Sud district. Learn more from the factsheets 'Didactic box gardens in schools' and 'OrtoMobile - micro gardens in boxes'.

The Castle of Mirafiori - dating back to the 16th century - received a make-over; including  the building itself, the surrounding vegetation and information for visitors.  For more details, refer to the 'Mirafiori Castle ruins recovery and new planting' factsheet.

Orto Wow - the courtyard of an abandoned building - has 15 garden boxes with aromatic plants and other melliferous plants that attract pollinating insects and hosts a weekly farmers market organized by the farmer  association Coldiretti. The idea is based on creating a “green square” that is open to all to use, such as for educational activities, public talks and more. Read more in the Orto Wow factsheet.


Orti Generali are the community urban gardens that are part of regenerating the derelict Cascina Piemonte area. There are 160 garden plots of different charges and sizes for locals to use and socialise in. Learn more from the Orti Generali Factsheet.


A 3,000 m2 food forest - a self-sustaining woodland ecosystem designed for food production - has been created together with local residents in the Huckarde district. The permaculture orchard on site, planted with fruits, nuts and berries, will enhance soil fertility. Located next to the parish hall of the St. Urbanus church, the orchard will also increase availability of pollinator flora. To learn more, read all about the food forest and permaculture orchard in Huckarde.


The City gardens project was introduced in 2013 with the aim of using city-owned land as gardens for citizens in the Living Lab of Sesvete. Within proGIreg the urbans gardens located in the Living Lab next to the post-industrial area Sljeme were upgraded by installing solar water distribution pumps and solar water purifying devices using renewable energy sources. Learn more about the modernisation of the gardens from the factsheet. Near the gardens, proGIreg partner - the local NGO 'Green and Blue Sesvete' (ZIPS) - has set up a proGIreg info centre as a meeting point for the local community, offering lectures, workshops, exhibitions and round tables. Learn more about the info point from this factsheet.

ProGIreg implemented a therapeutic garden designed in collaboration with local associations working with people with disabilities, including spaces for activities, respite and urban farming for a wide variety of users.


Cascais will create urban gardens for local organic food production. The aim is not only to produce for own-consumption but also to sell under the local brand ‘lands of Cascais products’.


Following the success of similar urban gardening projects in the city, Cluj-Napoca will regenerate the post-industrial land (and its soil) in the areas flanking central rail tracks. The aim is to create new jobs and opportunities for marginalized groups.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 innovation action programme under grant agreement no. 776528. The sole responsibility for the content of this website lies with the proGIreg project and in no way reflects the views of the European Union.