Cultivating the garden, exchanging seeds from the countries of origin, sharing knowledge and effort but also good fruits and satisfactions. OrtoMondo, the garden cultivated by the guests of a reception center in Paestum on a land otherwise abandoned, thanks to an agreement signed between Legambiente and the same center, is one of the good practices already in the field in terms of integration and social inclusion covered by Involves (Integration of migrants as Volunteers for the safeguard of Vulnerable Environments), the European project that engages Legambiente and other European voluntary associations with the aim of creating paths of inclusion between local communities and foreign citizens and contributing to the construction of more inclusive communities , safe and cohesive. An overall ambitious goal, all the more so in these times, but unavoidable.
“The idea of involving the guests of the reception center in our volunteering activities was born spontaneously – says Francesca Cecconi, an activist of the Legambiente circle of Paestum – Young foreigners spent most of the day idle, with very few social opportunities. At the same time, our circle was engaged in a project to restore Il Sentiero degli Argonauti an itinerary that creates an ideal reunion between the ancient city of Paestum and the sea. We tried to involve them and from that attempt great friendships and relationships were born ”.
The Involve project has a specific objective, which is to involve people from third countries in voluntary activities aimed at recovering and enhancing the environmental and cultural heritage. “In the wake of the experience realized with the path of the Argonauts, new projects and objectives have arisen – continues Francesca -. We put up a bike shop to repair the bikes, the main means of transport for the guests of the reception centers in the area and then, in 2017, OrtoMondo was born, the shared vegetable garden that still employs 10 to 20 young people in the cultivation of about 1,500 square meters of land in the area of Capaccio Paestum. A beautiful space to learn to take care of the place where you live, the integration between different nationalities, the principles of healthy agriculture, exchanging techniques and advice with each other “.
OrtoMondo has helped bring foreigners closer to the local community. Initiatives such as the seed exchange festival were born and more and more people appreciate the healthy and tasty products produced by the boys on an otherwise unused soil. Yet, despite the fact that in this area there have never been any cases of racism or intolerance, there is still no form of real community, of daily and effective social sharing.
“For this reason we wanted to participate in the Involve project – explains Francesca -, to face a new challenge and test our ability to really include foreign citizens who will become permanent, an active part of our community”.