Featured research (4)

The fundamental role of preserving and safeguarding agro-biodiversity is concealed in the relationship between nature and culture. The article aims to present two specific cases, the Ark of Taste and Presidia projects, promoted by the association Slow Food International which ambition is to preserve native breeds and local plant varieties, support quality products, fragile and/or complex territories and ecosystems, recovering traditional processing methods. Through intersectoral action and an integrated analysis of ecosystems, including both natural and anthropic components, it will therefore be possible to enhance biological diversity.
Previous research has suggested that activities such as community gardens could offer a wide range of health benefits. The aim of the article is to systematically review the available literature to analyse the magnitude of the phenomenon, the geographical distribution, and the main characteristics in terms of health outcomes and target populations. The search addresses the question whether the activity in community gardens improves health and well-being outcomes of individuals. From the total amount of 7226, 84 selected articles showed that:(1) up to 50% are published by U.S. universities or institutions; (2) up to 44% of the studies considered “community gardens” as the main activity of the research focus; (3) one-third of the studies included adults; (4) almost 25% of the studies used “general health” as the main outcome when investigating the benefits of community gardens; (5) the percentage of studies that achieved their outcomes was heterogeneous among the different health dimensions. In conclusion, while a certain degree of heterogeneity in the used definition and outcome still exist, community gardens may be a viable strategy for well-being promotion in terms of psychological, social, and physical health and may be considered as an innovative urban strategy to promote urban public health.
A growing awareness that highly intensified agricultural systems have made a substantial worldwide contribution to the worsening of the resilience capacity of natural ecosystems has, over the last twenty years, brought general attention to agroecological management models. This aspect is even more evident in industrial agriculture, which is based on the use of multiple chemical products derived from non-natural synthesis. In more developed countries, a new idea of ecology linked to agricultural production has been increasingly developed and, for this reason, there has been a greater diffusion of differentiated agricultural models taking into consideration the environmental impact of production choices and policies addressed to the conservation of natural resources. In urban agricultural production, it is even more important to adopt resilient production models that, in addition to developing responsible production paths and allowing a positive connection with the needs of consumers, guarantees reasonable and positive behaviors respecting the environment in which most of the urban population lives; in other words, the implementation of goal 12 of the sustainable development goals (SDG #12 Responsible Production and Consumption) of the United Nations. In this work, we report some case studies inspired by the activities carried out by the Slow Food Association in Africa and demonstrate the importance of agroecological models in small-scale agricultural systems, related to the development of school and community gardens in small urban areas of different African countries, as a tool for integrating agricultural activities aimed at social resilience and the conservation of ecosystems.

Lab head

Chiara Ghisalberti
  • Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences

Members (1)

Anna Gregis
  • Università degli Studi di Torino