The “GROWING COMMUNITIES: Empowerment through social permaculture” project responds to two important challenges in Europe: social inclusion and environmental & climate goals, by using an innovative approach to social permaculture, community gardening and sustainable lifestyles.

Around 22,4% of the population in Europe lives in households at risk of poverty or social exclusion – and the percentage is even higher in rural areas or suburbs. As an outermost region, Canary Islands report 36% of people at risk of social exclusion and poverty (in Romania 35.7 %) (EUROSTAT, 2017).

The most powerless people in our societies are likely to be worst affected by the consequences of a crisis (like the COVID 19 pandemia), not only economically, but also regarding the access to affordable and balanced food.

Increasing food autonomy and changing consumption patterns towards sustainable habits could be a way for adult educators to motivate and empower final beneficiaries to improve their socio-economic situation, health and educational opportunities.

The aim of this project is to enable adults – with focus on vulnerable adults – to acquire a wide set of skills, knowledge and competences needed for participating actively in modern society in a lifelong perspective, such as critical thinking, civic and environmental awareness, food autonomy and learning for healthy lifestyles.

The target groups and final beneficiaries are adults, especially from disadvantaged rural areas or problematic suburban neighbourhoods, seniors 55+ exposed to loneliness, adults who face economic instability and risk of social exclusion.

The project consolidates the efforts of 3 organizations from Spain (EDUPLUS), Germany (Kulturlabor – Try & Error) and Romania (DOMINOU Association). The partnership is going to work jointly on the development of 3 intellectual outputs:

  1. A European Educational model to empower adult educators to teach learners, including adults from disadvantaged backgrounds, to become true actors of change in their local communities.
  2. Bite-size learning tools – a set of training and self-paced learning materials (OER) that support disadvantaged groups and adult educators in implementing transformative community processes.
  3. An Engagement program designed for 60 adults to increase their motivation for participation in the society, with a focus on those with fewer possibilities – they will exchange experience during microtrainings and social activities with peers.