Study Visit | Barcelona

October 2012

Another month, another country! This time Barcelona, where the weather proved to the EUGO group that “The rain in Spain does not always fall mainly on the plain”.It was to be a very busy visit with a mix of gardens in the city and beyond, combined with some intense contemplation of our developed Good Practices and Tools.
The first urban garden visited was that of Conreu Sereny, which focuses on combating social exclusion for migrants. The garden covered a large expanse with many crops being cultivated. It lived up to its name as the old monastery and gardens were havens of peace and serenity.

In contrast to the large growing space of Conreu Sereny, the group next found itself close to the heart of the city, in one of the local government buildings which had provided a terrace area for use as a Raised Bed garden on one of its upper floors. Here small beds contained various food crops, used as a focal point for education and discussion on the topic of food production in the city.

Different again was Can Masdeu, a large house, last used as a leper colony before being abandoned for several decades before its “adoption” twelve years ago by the current residents. The large gardens covered several terraces and were a mix of individual plots and a large community area to provide food for the house. The group was able to view many Good Practices at work, but most notable were the extensive systems for water capture, water recycling and water distribution. A detailed explanation of the management philosophies and principles of Can Masdeu was provided by the residents.

A train ride took the study group to nearby Cardedeu to experience a large community growing co-operative (Hort Pheonicurus Cardedeu), producing a range of organic vegetables on permaculture principles, plus a local school being used to provide courses on organic horticulture (Es Biosfera) and related topics. A guest from a regional seed bank (Llavors Orientals) explained its objectives, principles and practices.

Night life in the heart of the city was next on the agenda, with a visit to Hort del Xino, a small garden occupying the site of a demolished apartment block in the multicultural Ravel area of Barcelona. The garden was used to grow to some food produce, but primarily served as a social tool, providing a place for local residents to gather in a friendly environment and for youngsters to play safely.