Red de Huertos Urbanos Comunitarios de Madrid

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Madrid's Community Gardens Network shows how food production can be the basis of local projects to reimagine and recreate the city, reconfigure social relationships and engage creatively with local government and other established institutions.[1] A few projects started up in the early years of the 21st Century, leading to creation of the Red de Huertos Urbanos Comunitarios de Madrid (RED) in 2010. The RED supports initiatives to become more visible, exchange experiences through visits and meetings, share resources, create mutual support mechanisms and promote training events, as well as offering a resource space that can provide advice and support to people and groups interested in taking forward new initiatives and mediation services for when conflict arises in neighbourhood groups. The RED immediately sought to engage with the Madrid City Council, eventually leading to regularisation of 17 member projects in 2014 and subsequent expansion of the network to 60 officially recognised neighbourhood projects by 2018.

Dialogue with the municipalist coalition elected to the City Council in 2015 has allowed the RED to take a central role in joint development of public policies aimed at recognizing and taking advantage of the creativity and collective intelligence of residents in co-development of public policy. This has led to creation of the Municipal Urban Gardening School, a training plan to support community gardens jointly managed by the RED, and launch of a pilot project for community agro-composting. The network has also arranged various events to raise the profile of and encourage participation in member projects, including film festivals and bike tours, and become an important force for creating linkages between outlying areas of Madrid, in which community gardens tend to be located. Its members have become an important driving force for new initiatives on citizen participation, food production, agroecology and reinvigoration of urban social relationships through shared learning and collective action. This is both city-wide and beyond: RED coordinated the first national meeting of urban community garden networks in 2015.

  1. Fernández Casadevante Kois, José Luis, Nerea Morán and Nuria del Viso, 2018. Madrid's Community Gardens. Where neighbourhood counter-powers put down roots. In Buxton, N. & D. Eade (eds.) State of Power. 2018 edition. Amsterdam: Transnational Institute. Pp. 131-148.