Cooperation project co-financed by the European Commission

GenerACTOR - Community gardens as a GenerACTOR for good governance, active citizenship and participation, n. CSO-LA/2021/428-386.


GenerACTOR - Community gardens as a GenerACTOR for good governance, active citizenship and participation is a European cooperation project that aims to foster innovative models of urban development in Colombia.

The project aims to strengthen the multi-level governance of the city of Barranquilla and reduce the levels of poverty and food insecurity of the most vulnerable communities (especially migrants), contributing in the long run to promote the inclusion and sustainability of urban development in the city of Barranquilla in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Green Deal.

The action envisages the creation of community gardens in the urban area of Barranquilla (Colombia) as a tool of good governance, active citizenship and participation, supported by training interventions aimed at gardeners, Gardenisers, trainers, schools, public administration.


Barranquilla faces rising poverty and food insecurity indicators due to the COVID pandemic, coupled with the social phenomenon of largescale migration. Barranquilla now hosts the second largest number of migrants and refugees in Colombia,including 97,494 Venezuelan migrants (2021), which accounts for over 8% of its population. Recent decisions by the National Government of Colombia are paving the way for the implementation of a Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which will allow the regularization of virtually all Venezuelans residing within the Colombian territory. This measure will nevertheless bring about challenges for local authorities, in particular for cities like Barranquilla, which will face a greater demand for access to local services.

The economic and social situation of Barranquilla in the post-covid context and the high number of Venezuelan migrants in the city testify to the importance of the project. The main assumption for the intervention is that no major external political, social or economic events adversely affect the relationship between residents and local authorities and that no significant change in the political reality of Venezuela leads to massive waves of migrants returning to their homeland.

For local, regional and national authorities, urban community gardens can be true catalysts for participation, in a similar way as plazas and public squares, where the rights and duties of residents are exercised and social and civic commitment is displayed. The creation of common spaces for the exercise of individual and collective participation allows local authorities to promote social cohesion, inclusion and prosperity. Diversity, through life experience and skills, becomes a strength that every individual brings to its community, committed to a public project, thus promoting the so-called common good. The earth needs constant investments of energy and, above all, time to bear fruit, as does society. Community gardens produce positive social externalities for the local context, which go far beyond the size of the land it occupies. It is therefore not just about gardeners, but it is a stimulus for the development of the community that involves many people outside of it.


The main objectives of the project are:

  • strengthening the capacities of local authorities and communities to co-create sustainable urban transformation strategies
  • development of a participatory model for the design and implementation of urban community gardens and green public spaces
  • the implementation of a networking strategy as a tool for knowledge exchange and sustainability


the project envisages the implementation of several actions by the various members of the international consortium:

  • webinars for various Colombian stakeholders
  • training courses for citizens, teachers and public officials
  • practical experiences in urban gardens in other cities in Colombia
  • practical experiences in urban gardens in Rome
  • study visits in Barranquilla and in Rome
  • creation of 4 urban gardens in the city of Barranquilla




An initial mapping of contacts with experiences of community urban gardens and urban agriculture in Colombia is useful in order to study existing experiences and involve them as resource competences and persons. The possibility to count on a network of existing urban gardens, where possible to organise apprenticeships in the field which complement the training actions that GenerACTOR can offer, can be an additional advantage.


Short training opportunities (16 hours each) focused on specific topics (as growing fruit and vegetables; irrigation and sun exposure; pruning, composting; the soil cycle, organic cultivation and biodiversity; spontaneous herbs and synergic cultivation; plant and insect recognition, hydroponic gardening; organic fertilization, planning and design) aim to improve the basic knowledge of potential community gardens members. The courses will be generally addressed to a large part of the population, contributing to reinforce professional skills on organic agriculture, also useful for employment. The courses will be held by citizens with experience, professional or civil servants. This project activity can foster aggregation and exchange between different individuals and may allow to identify competence leaders, both among learners and trainers, who may be the beneficiaries of the subsequent training actions that GenerACTOR will offer.


The training of trainers specific format builds upon the French and English traditions on urban gardens that are some of the strongest traditions on this topic in Europe. GenerACTOR will provide 1 training course for trainers (4 days) that wish to provide training to an aspirant Gardeniser at local level. Considering the variety of areas of expertise covered by the training for aspirant Gardeniser Trainers, the Gardeniser trainer should already have a certain level of expertise in the field of urban gardens and in delivering training.

Course participants should then be able to work alongside international trainers in the organisation and delivery of Gardeniser Pro, Gardeniser Tec and Gardeniser Edu courses in order to consolidate and practise their learning in a service learning logic.


A Gardeniser (garden-organiser) is a key coordinating role working inside the community or urban garden. The role requires the Gardeniser to have both technical skills, like practical gardening skills, as well as the ability to enable volunteers and staff who work in the garden to be fully included in the work in the garden through good communication, mediation, organisation and management skills. A Gardeniser supports cohesion, participation and social inclusion in the community garden. The Gardeniser promotes community/ urban gardens in their area by raising awareness of their garden in a community and the outcomes they can deliver for their area such as reducing social isolation, creating volunteering opportunities and enabling people to access fresh fruit and vegetables. They also support good communication between the public sector and the community who are active in the community garden. They know nothing more than you, but can help you find a solution, even when you need to put together your needs and those of others, especially when they do not coincide.

The Gardeniser promotes the urban community garden as a common good that can contribute to the wellbeing of the community.

The pathways are for aspirant Gardenisers, namely young people and adults that work in urban gardens in various ways, both in the public and private sectors, and want to increase or complete the competencies necessary in order to fulfill the role of coordinator of urban gardens.

The GARDENISER PRO Training Programme includes two main elements: a Training Course (40 hours) plus a work-based experience (internship) abroad or in a local garden (40 hours). These two elements go hand in hand and are complementary.

The Gardeniser Pro training course, together with its apprenticeship, completes the preparation of competent local leaders. Their action, both individual and collective, will consolidate the inclusive aspect of community urban gardens, multiplying the positive externalities generated towards the territory, guaranteeing its action over time and supporting its positive interaction with local institutions.

The internship enables the consolidation of inter-networks between different community gardens, fostering the transfer of skills and experiences and promoting the development of a mutual peer support network.


The GARDENISER TEC training course is aimed at those public figures who are in charge of coordinating and managing the network of urban gardens in the city on a territorial proximity basis. Lasting 3 days, the course aims to enable public officials to become familiar with the possible areas of intervention of the community garden, its internal dynamics and the function exercised by the gardeniser. Participants will get to know the potential of a urban community garden and reflect on it as a territorial hub that can contribute to the local development and policies.


The GARDENISER EDU training course is aimed at teachers and directors of schools who are interested in using outdoor school spaces, inside and outside school, as learning environments for their students. The 4-day course aims to give participants an insight into the possible areas of action of the community garden, the resources it can make available for integrated teaching and the function of the gardeniser as a link with the responsible teacher. Participants will thus be able to include the community garden in their network of resources to increase the effectiveness of their teaching and multiply the spaces available for their students to learn, as well as being able to count on extraordinary educational support on topics such as sustainable development and responsible consumption.


The cross-sectoral composition of the consortium is confirmed with Associazione Regionale Comuni del Lazio-ANCI Lazio as Lead Applicant (PP1), and four co-applicants which are the District of Barranquilla - the Mayor’s Office (PP2), Siembra Mas - a public-private entity in Barranquilla (PP3), Replay Network aps - a non-profit organisation (PP4) and Risorse per Roma - a municipal agency of the City of Rome (PP5), and the “Associates” which are DEMUCA Foundation, the Departamento del Atlantico and the “Vivere in…” Association of Social Promotion operating community gardens in Rome, the nonprofit Venezolanos en Barranquilla who promotes the participation of migrant communities in Barranquilla.


From 01/01/2022 to 31/12/2024


A portal dedicated to community gardens and gardenisers with interactive maps for geolocation and a toolbox of good practices

An official project information page is available at