Giacomo Salizzoni is already smiling through the screen. After the Galileo Award what happened in the Orti Dipinti garden? Too many things to sum up in the third segment of this story. Recently there was another award: Save the City, Florence, in 2019. But the Il Bisonte Journal isn’t a showcase for us to contemplate the Orti’s trophies. Nor is it a box office featuring upcoming programs. Since we’re here looking at each other in the narrow confines of this video call, we ask Giacomo: what happened to the Community Garden during lockdown?
Research and affection.
“For six months the name lost some of its meaning. The pandemic kept the Barberi Center folks and volunteers away from the garden. I was the only one who could water the plants every day. But the lockdown was a lot of things; mostly it provided time for research: when we put away certain obligations we can direct more energy to creativity, to discover what else the garden can offer. For example, our natural soap was created during that time.”
“Maybe it’s normal that the period of isolation offered a chance to be close to loved ones. I’d often bring my young son to the garden to work with me. Care was reciprocal. Here both the plants and the people had their needs met – I’m not sure if I’ve explained it well.”
And reopening the gates? The answer is obvious. The desire to leave the house as well as the beauty of the place should draw people to the community garden. Again, we’re talking about a rebirth of greenery and for those who take care of it. Yet Giacomo’s enthusiastic tone becomes subdued. In over ten years more than a thousand volunteers have helped out in the garden. They certainly have the wherewithal to prioritize a project where they get their hands dirty, set concrete objectives, establish contacts and share knowledge, over simply reciting ecological ideals. Today, rather than gaining more visibility, we need even those intermittent gardeners to put down deep roots, don’t you think?
Our time on the video call is up. What’s left is time to spend in the Orti Dipinti. With all its stories.