The Alcalá de Henares University has hosted a variety of science
cafés over the last few months.
On 23rd March 2018, we worked with the
Integration and Disability unit of the Alcalá de Henares University, inviting a group
of students with special needs to a “Where does my breakfast come from?”
science café. In small groups, the students made posters about the breakfasts
they brought with them, looking at ingredient sources, packaging,
transportation, shopping and food origins.
This allowed for a raised awareness about the quality of
food and to offer an activity to a group who often didn’t have the opportunity
to take part in activities in the Botanic Gardens. It also acted as a trial
run, to see if this could become a regular activity for groups in the future.
The participants were excited about the task and were very collaborative,
asking questions about the plants and taking photos.
A few weeks after this, on the 12th April,
another science café, “Gastronomy as a Commitment with Nourishment”, took place
as part of Alcalá’s “Third Symposium of Biodiversity, Landscape and Territory”.
The café focussed on the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact and was situated in the
Plademunt Restaurant, where the Botanical Garden team collaborated with the
owner, Ivan Plademunt.
He spoke about the importance and history of products like
tomato. We also invited Gisella Olivares, from Mensa Cívica, who spoke
about a sustainable restoration project in Complutense University, and Julia
del Valle, from Germinando, who spoke about the Milan Urban Food Policy
Pact and the strategy of sustainable food of Madrid. After the speakers, there
was time for reflection and discussion and we found a lot of interest in the
Photo credit: José
V. de Lucio
Ivan Plademunt was also involved in a science café on the 20th
April, where he hosted a tasting of local products as part of a conversation on
“Gastronomy and Food Security: Local Food and Urban Agriculture”. Other talks
community in urban gardens" (Alberto Cruz, Heliconia Soc. Coop. )
planning and organization of the biointensive vegetable garden (Pedro
Almoguera, Cantarranas Agroecological Community Garden of Universidad
Complutense de Madrid)"
- "From the
claim of urban agriculture in Alcalá to praxis: Experience of the Gardens of
the College Island" María Remedios Alarcón Víllora (Scientist from the
Regional Institute of Agriculture and rural Development Research and the
Platform for Urban and Social Agriculture in Alcalá de Henares)
The movement of urban
agriculture is an expression of social interest in the issues of food security
and agriculture. The demonstration and discussion served as the guiding thread
for a set of local and regional initiatives in this field.