Case Study

Communal garden in Parco nord Milano

Contact name

Fabio Campana

Institution name

Ente Parco Nord

Region & country

Lombardia, Milano


Communal garden Niguarda is a project of urban social agriculture, started in 2014 within the territory of Parco Nord Milano, on a 5000 square meters field owned by the city of Milan. The objectives of the project are: promoting social cohesion through the dissemination and sharing of agricultural and manual practices, but also through cultural, educational or recreational initiatives; promoting the diffusion of sustainable lifestyles, practicing organic farming in an urban environment, with particular attention to a broader concept of “cure”.
The project, promoted by Parco Nord Milano, has a strong social connotation. It is carried out by volunteer citizens.

Fabio Campana

Parco Nord

Fabio Campana

Parco Nord

Fabio Campana

Parco Nord

Background of the project

Parco Nord Milano produces gardens for seniors since 1980. These are 25-50 square meters fenced, individually placed to those who are interested and have the requirements (age and residence). The service is highly appreciated and demanded by citizens. Orto Comune Niguarda project proposes a different perspective, being addressed to people of all ages and backgrounds. It provides a common organization of work and cultivated land, with a view of total sharing.

Collective Niguarda Orto stands on a land that for few years has remained unused, located near one of the entrances of the park. Many well-liked interests have been added to a growing number of citizens, such as horticulture, quality of agricultural products, the development of supply chains Courtesy, participation and social cohesion, sharing culture, environmental protection, support for all forms of social uneasiness, concept of inclusion.

Solution and actions taken

The solution was to design in a participatory way a collective garden, inspired by the Community Garden model spread in England. The topics covered by Expo Milano 2015 “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” have been widely shared by the project (see Milan Paper).
The project is based on experimentations and researches, aimed to identify a system of management and organization of activities, spaces and production supposed to be compatible with the needs of the users.

Parco Nord Milano had contributed decisively to the success of the project by entrusting the direction of work to the agronomer Fabio Campana, who still plays a leading role as promoter. The establishment of the non-profit organization Orto Comune Niguarda, made up of volunteers, has allowed the development of the project.
The project has recently received some awards and funding, which are allowing a positive evolutions and the opportunity to propose a growing number of activities.

Other institutions or parties involved

The partners involved were: the city of Milano and the no-profit organization Orto Comune Niguarda.


Today, Common Garden of Niguarda is perhaps a unique reality. It welcomes new volunteers every year and participates in integration projects for those who have arrived in our country for a few months. Everyone can learn the importance of manual work and mutual aid, approaching the earth and nature, in a beautiful, well-maintained and preserved neighborhood of the neighborhood.


The main difficulties are to ensure the continuity of the services offered (opening hours, course delivery, production planning), relying almost exclusively on volunteer work. The problem of labor shortage has been resolved by activating internships for refugees in collaboration with Social services. It provides training and hospitality in return for useful work to the growth of the project.

Lessons learned

Importance of the support of the public actors involved (Parco Nord Milano and Comune di Milano) for the launch of the project and the importance of the volunteers involved in its development. Effectiveness of urban social agriculture as a tool for aggregation to deepen quality issues Food, food safety and food law, economic and environmental sustainability, solidarity and social cohesion, participation and comparisons.

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