ALLOTMENT GARDENS FOR SENIOR CITIZENS IN ITALY: CURRENT STATUS AND TECHNICAL PROPOSALS
Allotment gardens have several socio-cultural and economic functions particularly for senior citizens. They provide a place for meeting and overcoming loneliness and where fresh vegetables can be raised at a minimum cost, while providing an opportunity for self-fulfillment during retirement. The aim of this research was to study the situation of allotment gardens in Italy and to examine criteria and possible solutions for planning small garden areas in an urban environment. A survey was carried out in 2001 throughout Italy using a questionnaire sent to the municipal administrations of all the Provincial capitals and other municipalities, and by interviews with municipality technicians and representatives of allotment garden associations. There were 111 municipalities with allotment gardens (90% in northern Italy and 10% in central Italy) with a total of 18709 plots: the region of Emilia Romagna plays the leading role with 77 municipalities having a total of 14000 plots. Most of the gardens were developed after 1975 and especially in the last 10 years. The number of gardens per town and the size (from a few to hundreds of square meters, in most cases 30-70 m2) vary with the town as a result of land use planning, size and distribution of urban land areas, the sensitivity of local authorities, the presence of complementary/alternative services and facilities for citizens. In most cases the allotment and use of a garden follow administrative regulations (ranking in the list of applicants, contract conditions, duration, lease rate, utility rates, insurance) and technical regulations (type of use, maintenance, fencing, use of chemicals and water). However, agronomical aspects are often neglected. Suggestions and proposals for planning allotment gardens and for specific agronomical management are discussed.
Tei, F., Benincasa, P., Farneselli, M. and Caprai, M. (2010). ALLOTMENT GARDENS FOR SENIOR CITIZENS IN ITALY: CURRENT STATUS AND TECHNICAL PROPOSALS. Acta Hortic. 881, 91-96
urban horticulture, social role