Orti E.T.I.C.I.

Orticoltura, Economia, Tecnica ed Inclusione soCiale Innovativa.

Cooperativa Sociale Ponteverde onlus

Azienda agricola Biocolombini

CIRAA (Centro Interdipartimentale E.Avanzi)

DBPA (Dipartimento di biologia delle piante agrarie)

Orti e.t.i.c.i” is a social farming project born in 2008, where biological vegetables are produced and where relationships are experimented; place of meeting, coexistence and education for disadvantaged people, in comparison with different responsibilities and testing ground for new forms of ††† co-operation between public and private. The †††††† experimentation phase has been finished from short time, now “orti e.t.i.c.i” is launching the new organization till the end of 2013. It is a project which grows up on its own past, trying to get better and to open itself up to the urge which come from the outside.

Partner of the project are the Ponteverde Onlus no profit co-operative, the BioColombini commercial farm, the E. Avanzi interdepartmental center of farming-environmentalresearch (CIRAA), the department of biology of the agricultural plants from the University of Pisa (DBPA).

Aim of the project is the association between the own commercial farm’s perspective of production and of social inclusion, through the job placement of people who belong to the weaker classes that is people with a lower contractual capacity.

Social intuition is based on an interaction and integration logic which allowed the creation of an innovative path of collaboration and agreement between the needs of different areas such as research, the appreciation of public resources, quality agricultural production, social inclusion, the promotion of good practices and social dialogue.

Structure of the project

The project is regulated by an agreement between DBPA and the Temporary Association of Enterprise (ATI) established expressly between the commercial farm, CIRAA and the no profit co-operative.

ATI allows the three parties to pursue the planning objectives valuing and integrating everyone’s specific task. Task of the project is mainly the organic horticultural production and the commercialization of the product through the network of short chains of ethical purchasing; task of the co-operative is to run the process of job placement, evaluation and monitoring of individual results, CIRAA supervises the production, makes available some fields and the competences ofhis own technician and uses Orti E.T.I.C.I. as a place of experimentation and research in agricultural environment. So to the companies is given the charge to produce food, to the University is given the charge of research and of development and to the co-operative is given the charge to produce inclusive results in a setting where the two purposes are neither parallel nor superimposed indeed they are integrated through a path in which work is at the same time place of production and of inclusion. To date this is guaranteed by the choice to entrust the group of users to a tutor of the co-operative who looks after the process of integration with an almost constant presence on the workplace.

The convention and ATI guarantee clarity and transparency about the use of public land resources which are made available and establish the role of University in the project which substantially consist of research activity and development of innovative elements.

Management of the project, realization of the labor and verification

The project is managed by a technical staff composed of a farm businessman, an educational supervisor of the co-operative, a tutor and a representative from the University of Pisa and of CIRAA.

The staff meets once a month to organize production and training activities and to check the results. The realization of the production plans is managed by the farm businessman and by the representative from CIRAA, the commercialization of the products is carried out by the commercial farm and by the co-operative.

The project sustains itself through the selling of agricultural products. Therefore operating costs, the ones related to the productive processes and to the social (tutor) depend upon the project. With the stipulation of the new convention, at the conclusion of the first phase of experimentation, the Ponteverde co-operative has stipulated with the SDS area of Pisa a convention for the realization of a collaboration with the Services, in order to draw up an instrument which is shared for the management of the user’s insertions from the inside of social farming paths, using Orti E.T.I.C.I. like an experimentation place.

For this year of experimentation the SDS area of Pisa has supported the project through a grant for the work carried out by the tutor.

Direct beneficiaries

The users of Orti E.T.I.C.I. are selected within disadvantaged people with a lower contractual capacity who have started a path to recovery or social and working reinsertion (cfr L. 381/91).

Until now were expected mainly social-therapeutic insertions and apprenticeship, which are amounted to an opportunity to approach the world of formation and work, supported by a refund of expense by the sending Service or by the Employment Centre.

The variety of the types of disadvantage is one of the characteristics that distinguish Orti E.T.I.C.I. from other paths, generally built on a particular category of users. This choice has certainly critical issues, such as diversity of working and relationship capacity and the need for a more intensive tutoring action to guarantee greater integration of the working group, but it also offers the possibility to create a context which, precisely because it is not “built” thinking of the disadvantaged conditions, can be experienced as a place of “normality” since, even though in a guided way, it offers the possibility of interaction between people with different stories, difficulties and needs. To date, of about 30 users who have activated a path, at least 40% achieved a good level of competence and one got a job in a partner commercial farm, thus improving his personal situation. From December 2011 it has been activated for two users who have followed the training path, a part-time contract which lasts 18 months, within the project

Involved people

Although it is an opportunity of training and job placement, Orti E.T.I.C.I. presents itself as a complex path that turns to the institutions, social workers, the local community, the world of careful and solidarity based consumption and to the world of agriculture, with the intent to induce good practices and a more intensive social dialogue.

The project looked particularly for the involvement of solidarity based purchasing groups (GAS) already present in the area of Pisa, who have joined and supported the social and ethical choices that are at the bottom of the project, and commit themselves to buy the final product. In this way it has been created a "virtuous" link among all the actors in the chain, from the producer-user to the final consumer, in the belief that at the base of the success of this kind of project there should be a broad sharing of objectives and methods.

Through the collaboration with institutions operating in a social range (Health company) has been activated a process of investigation on the territory of the area of Pisa, for the establishment of a social network of commercial farms with which organize and activate paths of social farming. We are now setting up a permanent Table for the work on social farming, which involves the various stakeholders in the area: commercial farms, third sector, agricultural associations, institutions, social services...

The good practice

The project, in a phase of economic and social crisis, offers concrete answers to active social inclusion programs, to the need to ensure quality food to local communities, to the need to ensure facilities for university formation and research, by opposing the hypothesis of divestment of public assets and reintroducing the issue of an appreciation to collective goals.

At the center of the project there is a social innovation, the one of social farming, in order to mobilize in a new way the resources of a territory to provide innovative services to local communities through an innovative partnership between the business world - in this case, agricultural - world of social and public facilities. The project, totally self-financed, offers a different overlap between the creation of economic and social value giving life to hypothesis of civilian economy, in which the social utility of the practice is linked to the bond of economic sustainability and to a different cohesion between the bearers of project and local community. Thesupport to the project, in fact, derives directly from the consumers who choose to supply themselves with the products realized in the facilities of San Piero through methods of direct and local commercializing .

The proceeds from the sale of the products, once covered the costs of production, are used to ensure support for the social practices and for the cost of the educators.

In a period of drastic reshaping of the public resources available for social, the Orti E.T.I.C.I. project marks a chance to countertrend, promoting the creation of new services on the territory and levering a more careful responsibility and capability of collaboration between public services, third sector , the business community and civil society. Orti E.T.I.C.I. also offers evidence of how research, when it employs participatory methods of work (two mode of consciousness), in collaboration with the actors of the territory, can ensure useful answers to the current crisis and, at the same time, define work patterns and prototypes transferable to other contexts and solutions. Orti E.T.I.C.I. in fact works in a borderland between sectors and responsibilities and breaks down the barriers, often become blocking factors, to guarantee changing processes useful in this phase of rapid social and economic transition.

Achieved results …….

The project has adequately responded to the requests of training and social inclusion for the users integrated by the services, proposing itself as an educational and support background. The tutor’s presence and the constant comparison with social services, allowed to create an integrated course in which the formative/working experience has actively contributed to the individual courses designed by the services.

A very important result is the achievement of good working skills for a significant percentage of users, also confirmed by the materialisation of hiring. Another significant result is the creation of a close working relationship between services and operators in the project, which allowed to share not only the general purposes but also individual paths of the users, thus generating a system of integrated intervention, respecting the specific responsibilities of each user, can value each useful contribution to the growth of the users.

The project Orti E.T.I.C.I. was the winner of the special mention in the national competition E.S.E.M.P.I. 2011, sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry policies, in the range of the National Rural Network.

The region of Tuscany has selected the project Orti E.T.I.C.I. for the prize ToscanaEcoEfficiente 2012 with the recognition and assignment of the logo.

…..and proposals for the future

To make this process of integration more closely linked to the territory we will try to expand the commercial distribution, creating a system of direct sales, at the seat of San Piero a Grado, of a part of the product, in order to facilitate the encounter between users and consumers.

It will also be undertaken the course for the formative accreditation in order to provide users with a recognized vocational education, which can be easily spent on the territory.

A special commitment will be used to build the network with the local farms in order to create employment opportunities, which will be also a further opportunity for professional growth. At the present moment are in operation agreements with some companies for the definition of seasonal courses for some of the people formed by Orti E.T.I.C.I.

For further details

Cooperativa sociale Ponteverde onlus –

P.zza vittime dei lager nazisti, 3 - Pontedera (PI) - ITALY

0587 53450

Cristiano Marini 3401898720

Alessandra Funghi 3495529763

© SOFIEU-project 2012