First Competition for Sustainable School Gardens in Madrid

Again I come to tell you about a very special type of urban gardens: gardens in schools. After presenting the National Award for Ecological Educational Gardens on the blog (about to open its presentation period), today we will talk about another school garden contest, this time in the city of Madrid.

The mayor of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, at the awards ceremony for the First School Garden Contest held on May 27

Last Saturday the Network of Sustainable School Gardens of Madrid (in which more than one hundred schools, institutes and education centers already participate) celebrates its annual party. And this time, on the day of the School Garden Festival, the first edition of the Madrid Sustainable School Garden Contest was also held. We have been there to see it.

After seeing the videos of the participating cabbages (I leave you some below) the truth is that I understand that the popular jury found it difficult to choose the best ones. It is exciting to see how children learn and enjoy in the garden, while transmitting a great love for nature and an enviable enthusiasm for caring for the planet.

Retirement Garden. Three students from one of the schools that participated in the School Garden Contest

Categories and participants in the First Contest of Sustainable School Gardens

The contest, aimed at any educational center in Madrid that has a school garden, has two categories:

Category 1: The best harvest from the garden

The schools present in a small box or basket a representation of the harvest from their garden (vegetables, flowers, fruit…), accompanied by 3 photos where they appear in the school garden before being harvested. The orchards have been awarded with the most striking baskets for their color or the size and appearance of the products.

Category 2: The garden explained with more art

The best explanatory videos are awarded where the boys and girls tell what the garden is for them, how they usually grow it and encourage other schools to start their own school garden.

I leave you here one of them, the one presented by the CEIP Amador de los Ríos:

In this link you can see the 25 videos of the participating schools in the school garden contest. They are short videos, all less than 3 minutes, but in such a short time these children are capable of moving and moving the environmental awareness of many people.

Without theories or suppositions… just by seeing these small urban gardeners in action, the advantages and benefits of having orchards in educational centers can be seen in the foreground. They are all great!

May 27: Festival of the School Gardens and awards ceremony at the Retiro garden

The popular vote for the videos on YouTube was from May 12 to 18, and the vote for the first category (the baskets) took place on the same day as the Awards ceremony, last Saturday May 17 at the Huerto del Centro de Environmental Education of the Retiro Park.

Manuela Carmena, the mayor of Madrid, was in charge of handing out the diplomas and prizes to the winners at the awards ceremony for the school garden contest. In each category there were 5 finalists and a first prize, and the 10 chosen schools received a Kit of games and collective books from the school garden.

But, although the central activity of the morning was the awards ceremony, there was a bit of everything at this Festival of the School Gardens in Madrid: live music, games, workshops for children and adults, solidarity campaigns such as the Food Bank, or an agroeological market with local producers (which is already a tradition in the Huerto de El Retiro where the event was held).

And after all the hustle…

Some families stayed there to eat, enjoying the good atmosphere of the Retiro garden. Without a doubt, it is a perfect place to eat and spend the afternoon with the children!

Who has organized this competition for school gardens in Madrid?

Two associations committed to the sustainability of cities and the implementation of urban gardens: the Germinando Cooperative and the El Bancal Association.

These two associations have dozens of initiatives related to environmental improvement, social awareness and urban agriculture. Among them, the installation, maintenance and teaching of urban garden workshops in many of the schools in Madrid.

There are many benefits of school gardens, and that is why there are more and more groups, associations, families and educational centers (such as the organizers and participants of this first school garden competition in Madrid) that are committed to their implementation and dissemination in the cities.

A group of children in the Huerto del Retiro after the awards ceremony for the School Garden Contest

And I hope there are more and more! Seeing these new little garden enthusiasts I am sure that greener and less polluted cities will be possible in the not too distant future!!

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