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GardMed, to save the gardens of the Mediterranean

GardMed, to save the gardens of the Mediterranean


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There is a lack of funds for Mediterranean gardens, victims of vandalism: people do not feel them as a "common good" and so here is GardMed, a network to make them sustainable and lovable. All the countries bordering the Mediterranean are called to participate. It can be done! Stena Paternò, Project Manager - Gardmed, in fact, says that "the parks of American and British cities in the 70s experienced the same degradation and today enjoy excellent participatory and often voluntary management by citizens". 80% of the resources that "water" them are private individuals, foundations or philanthropic associations who care about "their" green space.

1) When was GardMed born and with what goal? Which subjects participate?

Gardmed is a project born in 2009 in response to a call from the European Commission aimed at developing territorial cooperation between Europe and the non-EU countries of the Mediterranean Basin (ENPI, or the so-called neighborhood policy). In that case we involved Greece, Portugal, Spain, Malta, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan but the project never came to be evaluated due to an administrative problem. Subsequently, in 2010 we participated in a territorial cooperation tender only with Malta (Italy Malta program, also financed by the EC) which is what we are currently developing. This year (2012) we tried to apply again, involving Greece, Jordan, Spain, Malta, Palestine and Italy. The goal is to create a network of Mediterranean gardens. The larger project with multiple countries focuses heavily on the management model to make gardens sustainable, while the one with Malta also has an integrated tourism development component between the two islands, Malta and Sicily.

2) Why have Mediterranean gardens been in crisis in recent years?

THE Mediterranean gardens they have entered into crisis for various reasons and today an unsustainable planning prevails that does not consider the socio-cultural and climatic context and therefore uses high-maintenance plant species. For example, lawns in places that have scarce water resources.

Among the causes of the crisis is the lack of schools for gardeners and landscape architects in the southern Mediterranean: the tradition and culture of Mediterranean garden and over the years the influence of more Nordic and continental cultures has arrived.

Furthermore, the Mediterranean garden, also characterized by the production of fruit, has become economically unsustainable and the culture of overbuilding and building speculation has prevailed. The Mediterranean gardens and in general i historic gardens, they receive only cultural and political attention and are therefore at risk of extinction. In the South, especially, gardens have failed to transform into something productive and reinvent themselves a future.

3) What measures / agreements also at international level exist today to conserve green spaces in the Mediterranean?

At the international level there are rules, laws and programs in defense of the environment (Kyoto, landscape convention, carbon foot print, etc.) but in everyday reality - at these latitudes - environmental protection is relegated to micro-good daily actions of individuals, individuals or administrators of small communities. This is highly contradictory.

There is no widespread culture, even political, and legislation capable of safeguarding, enhancing and making gardens locally, but more generally nature, what it should be: an enormous opportunity for human and economic development. To realize this, just look at the difference with the continental parks and gardens that instead generate employment, tourism and educational programs for all.

4) What does it mean to create a network of support and technical expertise for Mediterranean gardens?

In practice, it means creating opportunities for physical and virtual meetings between professionals in the sector but also enthusiasts, professionals and local administrators and private owners, to exchange ideas, work on common programs, develop entrepreneurship widespread around the world of Mediterranean gardens.

5) What does the collaboration with Malta consist of?

The collaboration with Malta made it possible to identify a set of criteria to select the gardens that can be part of the network and a study is being carried out to understand which and if it is appropriate to establish a legal entityGardMed that can establish the rules of the game. Again with Malta, 15 cultural events were financed in the gardens of Syracuse and Floriana and a road show was organized for 5 foreign tour operators specialized in eco-tourism.

The two Botanical Gardens have developed a model of gardening school for the gardeners of the network and created a first experimental module, a management model is being studied for the sustainability of the garden, on a social, cultural, economic and managerial level, which it will be implemented in the gardens of Villa Reimann, in Syracuse, and of George V, in Malta.

Meanwhile, the site dedicated to collaboration between the members of the network will soon be online and all the gardens belonging to it will be equipped with a catalog, plaque, gadget. An international conference is scheduled at the end of March to dictate new guidelines and extend the network.

6) How many gardens are part of GardMed today? Are there any other gardens you would like to have in your network?

At the moment there are 18 public and private gardens, including the two botanical gardens of the universities of Catania and Malta, and we would like to extend the network to all the regions bordering the Mediterranean basin.

7) How much does it cost to maintain gardens? What public contribution? Is it private?

THE gardens that we have selected are all living in a very difficult moment which in the last 5 years has become dramatic in terms of financial resources. For this reason our project aims to define management models capable of attracting public and private resources, involving the community as much as possible.

In particular for public gardens, one of the worst problems is the maintenance cost due to neglect and vandalism caused not only by social degeneration, but also by the fact that what is public is not considered a collective good but "of the administration ”Therefore it becomes a catalyst for all the hatred towards the public administration and politics.

We try to involve the community and the major stakeholders (families, children, the elderly) to break through the concept that the public good must be felt as one's own.

THE parks and gardens of American and English cities that in the 70s lived the same degradation today are for us an example of participatory and often voluntary management by citizens. Most of these gardens are only 20% supported by public resources, the rest are private and philanthropic foundations or associations that organize volunteers who care about “their” green space.


Video: JÆREN RUNDT 1 - Ep. 5: Edna og Traktorungdommer (May 2022).