Investire, investire, e investire – Commoning Europe in Italy

From April 4 to 8, Toha De Brant, Yannick Schandené and Hanne Van Reusel were out and about in Florence, Italy for BRAL. They visited local practices of the commons and exchanged knowledge and experiences with other commoners as part of the Joint Staff Training Event for Commoning Europe in Campi di Bisenzio. Commoning Europe wants to rediscover the public good as the foundation of Europe. The project is co-funded by the Erasmus + Programme of the European Union and aims to spread awareness on common goods and good practices in several countries.

During the Joint Staff Training Event managers, civil servants and citizens from five European countries (Italy, Turkey, Belgium, the Netherlands and Romania) join forces to foster commoning practices between public institutions and local governments. The commune of Campi di Bisenzio presented skilfully the experiences and practices on the countryside and the surroundings of Florence’s metropolitan area. After a short presentation of the programme, we let Hanne explain her takeaways.

Day 1

The group kicked-off with an introduction to the Commons regarding legal framework, private-public management, and regulation of the collaborations followed by a visit to Giardini Nidaici. The garden is a space for children in the city of Florence, managed by volunteers.

Day 2

Mondeggi was the second common good visit. It is located in the municipality of Bagno a Ripoli. The community pride themselves in the concept of ‘land of common good’. Free sharing of knowledge, local natural and sustainable farming are a few of their added values.

The group thereafter visited Lumen Firenze, an associative cultural space situated in a large green area of Florence. It represents an incubator of autonomous and sustainable economic dynamics, because it is a reference point for innovative projects, knowledge sharing, start-ups and new civic practices.

Day 3 & 4

After the visits, the group headed inside for round table sessions about common goods. They also learned about how to build an energy community thanks to the contribution of Legambiente Onlus - Comuni Rinnovabili – another Erasmus + project. In promoting energy communities as common good, they believe it can bring economic, environmental and social benefits to local communities.

Hanne Van Reusel’s feedback:

“As engaged commoner and member of BRAL, I joined this European commons exchange and training. Exploring the Metropolitan area of Florence and its commons, I am noting several takeaways:

  • The importance of a national law / regional framework defining commons in order to provide leverage.
  • The EU subsidiarity principles, acknowledging the role of the social sector and citizens have been written since ‘93, and acting since 2009. They provide ground for supporting commons initiatives also in Belgium and Brussels.
  • Commons from the perspective of public administrations is about acknowledging active citizenship and valuing the diverse contributions they bring to the public and common good.

Gratitude to the wonderful team from CampoBisenzio, commoning_europe and Partners in commons: fermenthingsbe tohadebrant And shout out to my @osmosnetwork that allows me to disappear, learn more and go and soak up some Italian sun 🙏”

Thank you for you attendence and contributions, Hanne, Toha and Yannick! Want to know more about the project Commoning Europe? Are you interested in discovering the good practices our partners and us have put in the spotlight? Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and the website!