Today the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera, on page 17 of the paper edition, tells about the LUISS community garden and its educational value for students and the neighbourhood. This project went beyond the best expectations and in about one year became a real gym for growth.
In September, a group of boys and girls with autism, along with middle school students and the neighbourood elders, will be back in the garden – the author of the article calls it the “most shared space in the city”. There will also be students and professors, to foster a better inclusion.
In a thousand square meters garden different realities, ages and circumstances have the chance to meet. Different lives, different habits learn how to get closer and speak to each other. And above all, they learn to listen to each other.
We are used – or better, the hyper digitalised young adults that get access to university – to think that technology allows people to do everything with a click. E-commerce makes possible for us to buy a mixer in the US or a toaster in Germany with a click; we can call in Australia as easily as we call a friend in our neighbourhood; and we can order a book in the UK and receive it the day after.
Things being this way, we often forget that some things, perhaps the most important ones, require time, patience and dedication. We cannot order a tomato plant to grow with a click: it needs care, we need watering it, cut the bad parts, we have to preserve it from parasites.
Nature has its time and so do the big achievements in our life. We cannot build a career overnight, we need time, sacrifice and dedication. We cannot forget to listen those who are next to us. We are the social animals Aristotle talked about, and so should we deal with others close to us.
We should also listen those who speak different languages and those who are experienced enough to tell us history, because we cannot build a future without knowing the past.
The community garden in viale Romania is all this and much more. It is vision, first. A vision that many people helped transforming into an unprecedented educational platform in Italy and it only needs new people to grow more and more and bestow a further value to the education school and university already provide.
By the way, the teacher should not teach the pupil what he should learn, but how to learn it. We do want to inspire a new method, not just new notions. Not just in class, but even in a garden, because students can also – and mostly – learn in various and shared ways.