Pip to Pot - a project developed during Holis '18 Sobole

Maxim Dedushkov

February 28, 2019

Team facilitator: Dana Olarescu

Team participants: Zsofia Elek, Eliana Vargas, Katarzyna Zawada, Fei Feng

The challenge

Our work focused on the wellbeing of people in Sobole. We were interested to learn about the lifestyle of this rural community and what the wellbeing state meant to them. Most of all, we were all curious to meet the people in the countryside: talk to them, listen their stories, and observe their behaviour.

Photo ©️ Holis / Julia Karczewska

We decided to explore the social relations of the people in the village as we considered it to be the basic structure of a community development and wellbeing. Our research began with walks through the village which brought us to communal and traditional places like the fire station and the school where people tend to get together. We also observed that the highway and streets were popular spaces for the intergenerational activity of cycling and that it was a great place (though a little bit dangerous) to meet people. And so we did.

We got the chance to meet lovely ladies who shared with us more than their home-grown food or home-made drinks; they also told us their stories and perspectives of the village and its collective wellbeing. The dialogue and our observations mostly pointed the lack of opportunities for the locals to get together and share their time in order to improve mutual trust, communication and participation between the people in Sobole.

The idea

The Pop up Garden proposal is the conclusion of combining the village wealth in green spaces, the farming knowledge and neighbours’ interests, and our will of involving the community through seven year old children’s free time after school. We believe that children participation brings communities together for present and future wellbeing. Therefore, it consists of a small garden of vegetables and herbs planted by children after school hours.

However, our biggest aim with this project is to reunite the community and strengthen their relationships through a monthly meal prepared with the herbs, fruits and vegetables harvested from the children’s garden. In addition, this project will contribute with children’s gardening skills by giving them a feeling of ownership of the project and the responsibility of being an active part of their community and environment. To encourage children to participate, we developed playful cards that described the herbs ‘personalities’ and maintenance needs so that it became easier to identify each herb, and know how to take care of it.

Photo ©️ Holis / Julia Karczewska

At first, it is planned to be developed in the local school’s backyard, but it could also be more attractive for children if they each brought a container where they could grow any plant they liked, and took them to fill empty spaces in their homes or village, thus creating communal spaces for learning and sharing. In doing so, not only children, but all the people from the village could spend time together to watch them grow.

The how

  • We will find a local facilitator: we consider necessary to find a person from the village who can teach the children how to grow and take care of the plant according to traditions of the area.
  • The children will choose what they are going to grow through a card game: with the help of designers, each herb and vegetable is going to be identified with a story and illustration that would describe it, its ‘personality’ and needs.
  • Over one week, the children will be taught how to garden herbs and vegetables: from the seed chosen and the growing place established, the facilitator will teach the children the process of cultivating.
  • The children will take care of their plants: after the first week of learning with the facilitator, the children will take care of their plant watering it, cleaning it and talking to it, according to each need described in the card.
  • Monthly Sunday dinners will be organised for the locals at Sobole Foundation: once the plants grow, the harvested vegetables and herbs are going to be used for preparing monthly dinners for all the people in the village. These dinners are going to be prepared by children with the help of the teachers and people of the village that want to share local recipes. All families and neighbours will be invited to enjoy the dinner. For this final stage, the participation of the council and NGOS is very important as we might need some resources for preparation from them. As well as use their help to reproduce this project in other villages.


Photo ©️ Holis / Julia Karczewska

The beneficiaries of this project are:

Children

  • Will learn responsibility by learning how to take care of the plants and being an active part of their community and environment
  • Develop interpersonal skills by sharing and co-operating
  • Will interact with each other and the locals

Locals

  • The dinners cooked by the children will bring locals together of all ages to spend time together through sharing their knowledge when growing the vegetables and herbs and preparing the food for the dinner.

Our aim is that the children feel the ownership of the project to make them be proactive and start other activities on their own in benefit of their community and their future. We want them to inspire other schools and communities in villages nearby

The local school will be responsible for running / supporting the children through this project, however, at the beginning of the implementation the school will count on our support for the development of the project and the graphic pieces needed.

Photo ©️ Holis / Julia Karczewska

Long term goals

Our challenge was to enhance social relations between people in the village in order to improve their wellbeing through an active participation of locals starting from children. With this in mind, our project focuses on the intergenerational participation of locals since the seed planting done by children and their responsibility with the garden will change young people’s perception of their home villages; from being a place without opportunities to a village that inspires others. Therefore, children will inspire participation, collaboration, and sharing of knowledge.

This participatory project could also extend its participation through organised workshops for tourists to come from all over the world to learn and practice rural sharing lifestyles with the help of children. This way it won’t only improve the local economy and reputation, but it will also bring the local people together in order to achieve that goal.

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Holis 2018 was co-financed by the Governments of the Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia through Visegrad Grants from International Visegrad Fund. The mission of the fund is to advance ideas for sustainable regional cooperation in Central Europe.

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