The present paper deals with the analysis of the educational and social innovation project, “URV’s Community Gardens”, carried out within the Campus of the University Rovira i Virgili (URV) in Tarragona, Spain. By creating community gardens, the project promotes the value-based education by adapting the university educational resources to the current social reality; the inclusion of vulnerable individuals and groups at risk of social exclusion (e.g. older, unemployed people and people with disabilities); and the promotion of the culture of respect for the protection and conservation of the environment.
The suspension of expansion works within the university campus due to the economic crisis provided an opportunity to leverage an agro-urban available space in a university area. The creation of community gardens within the university is justified by the need to promote the sense of public service and social responsibility of the state university, that is absolutely essential not only in the context of the economic crisis, but also at a time of loss of values being experienced by our society. Thus, transcending the academic space, the “URV’s Community Gardens” project encourages the participation and integration of the university community with social organizations and citizens to develop sustainable environmental practices, promoting a common space for a critical education, social reflection and interdisciplinary debate with a view to strengthening the commitment to social and environmental responsibility.
The core initiative is based on the service learning method which involves not only the integration of academically relevant service projects into the academic context,
This media entry was a contribution to the special session „The seeds of transition: cultivating social and environmental values at university“ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.