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Museu de Lisboa (org.) – Hortas de Lisboa: Da Idade Média ao Século XXI = Lisbon Vegetable Gardens: From Middle Ages to the 21st Century [exposição e catálogo]

Sandrine Simon
Referência(s):

Araújo, Daniela, and Mário Nascimento, coords. 2021. Hortas de Lisboa: Da Idade Média ao Século XXI = Lisbon Vegetable Gardens: From Middle Ages to the 21st Century. Lisboa: Museu de Lisboa, EGEAC. 208 pages, ISBN: 978-989-8763-61-7. Exhibition presented at the Museu de Lisboa – Palácio Pimenta, Lisbon, Portugal, between the 23rd of October 2020 and the 12th of December 2021. Curator: Daniela Araújo in collaboration with Joana Sousa Monteiro and Mário Nascimento. Organization: Museu de Lisboa, EGEAC; Partner: Working Group for Development and Promotion of Urban Agriculture in Lisbon – Environment, Green Structure, Climate and Energy Deputy Mayor ́s Office, Lisbon.

Texto integral

  • 1 Addressed in detail through the first two parts of the book, pp. 20-93.
  • 2 See the chapter from Daniela Araújo and Ana Paula Antunes, pp. 50-53, and then p. 57.
  • 3 See, for instance, the chapter from Luís Ribeiro, pp. 134-135.
  • 4 See the chapter from Samuel Niza, pp. 129-133.
  • 5 See the chapter from Teresa Marat-Mendes and Patrícia Bento d’Almeida, pp. 120-128.
  • 6 See the chapter from David Santos, pp. 110-117, the chapter from Daniela Araújo, pp. 140-157, and t (...)

1This exhibition catalogue, which gives a voice to a plethora of contributors (museum professionals, academics – including students – architects, gardeners, consultants in circular sustainable economy, members of the Working Group for the Development and Promotion of Urban Agriculture in Lisbon, etc.), synthesises and analyses even further the outcomes of the Hortas de Lisboa exhibition which took place at the Museu de Lisboa – Palácio Pimenta, in Lisbon, between the 23rd of October 2020 and the 12th of December 2021. Displaying drawings, paintings, photography, maps, videos, architectural models, samples of various plant species and artwork using seeds, this exhibition was a refreshing éveil des sens at a time when confinement periods due to the COVID-19 pandemic were starting and when, precisely because of the pandemic, critical reflections on our societies were emerging. Spontaneously interdisciplinary and inclusive, the exhibition addressed the (literally) “down-to-earth” issue of the city’s hortas (vegetable gardens) which, throughout history1, both met people’s immediate needs for food, especially in times of hardship, and the need for a contact with nature. The result is both humbling and inspiring: by the end of the visit, both the beauty, the generous nature of urban agriculture in all its forms (which produces food but also helps to fight climate change and improve human health2, helps to save water3 and to protect biodiversity), and its economic and political nature (urban agriculture relates to the city’s entire food system4, itself connected to land use and potential dispute around it5, food sovereignty and identity6, and concerns with the dependency on global food markets) have merged into one – crystallised through what museums are best at: making art ask the questions that matter most. Here, they were as follows. What are our basic needs? How do our societies and cities meet them? How do we, as citizens, position ourselves within these changing cities and ensure that they become better and more sustainable?

  • 7 See the map of various types of vegetable gardens in Lisbon, made by Carlos Cabral Loureiro/Design (...)
  • 8 See the chapter by Maria Figueira and Daniela Araújo, pp. 117-191.
  • 9 See the contributions of David Avelar and Florian Ulm, pp. 163-175.
  • 10 A point further explored by Ana Domingues, Graça Ribeiro and Rita Folgosa, pp. 115-117.

2Stepping on a giant map of Lisbon imprinted on the floor highlighting the tapestry of hortas throughout the city7, listening to people from different nationalities and ages sharing their experiences in the community gardens8, discovering the magic and efficiency of permaculture9 in small-scale plots through filmed interviews, as well as the ingenuity of hydroponic techniques displayed in models and diagrams, the exhibition’s visitor positions him/her-self at the core of the city. A city which, although it is adamant to position itself in the 21st century as forward-looking – focused on innovation, information and communications technologies and the tertiary sector of services (with touristic activities at the forefront) – has evolved, matured and even expressed itself around various forms of vegetable gardens. It has done so since the Middle Ages, as the exhibition skilfully shows us, taking us through ten centuries of «Germinating a Seed; Cultivating a Mission», as the title of the exhibition highlights, as if, in a way, it was also describing the quest of Lisbon for its core nature, its specificity, its mission maybe, even, in showing the way for transforming itself into a “sustainable city of the future”. Having already been awarded the title of green capital of Europe 2020 (European Union 2020), Lisbon might have also realised, when hit by COVID-19, that “green” does not mean “sustainable” nor “resilient”, and that the economic and social dimensions of sustainability still have to be worked on in order to complement the ecological achievements of the urban planners10.

  • 11 See the chapter written by Isabel Rodrigo, pp. 136-139.
  • 12 See the chapter written by Atelier Parto, pp. 158-161.
  • 13 Seed bombs, invented by Japanese farmer Masanobu Fukuoka, consist of a mix of clay, plant substrate (...)

3The exhibition and its catalogue even extend the reflection on urban agriculture to the European dimension11, emphasising the importance of networks, learning and participatory urban governance as facilitators to create urban edible landscapes12 and help to tackle the looming urban crisis. And so, as landscape architect Gonçalo Ribeiro Telles stressed, well beyond consolidating its green infrastructure and “corridors”, «the city of the future will be integrated into rurality and agriculture and the 21st-century citizen will neither be rural nor urban but both» (1996, 19). Besides, people will aspire to co-create “place-making” rather than dealing with urban “spaces”, therefore integrating both participatory and cultural elements in urban planning and transformational projects (Wesener et al. 2020). These cultural and participatory dimensions are well integrated in the exhibition and in the book: both provide information in Portuguese and English, and the public travels through rooms as if meandering through temporal and spatial “green corridors”, being presented with multi-media support material and, as if symbolically invited to ensure the repercussion of the exhibition’s messages, the visitors will choose one of the “seed bombs” from the last exhibit13 and use it in a place of their choice (private or public), hence allowing the variety of seeds to grow and “spread the idea”.

4Much academic research has focused on urban agriculture in Lisbon – names such as Cecília Delgado (2017; 2018), Teresa Marat-Mendes et al. (2021), Rosário Oliveira and Maria João Morgado (2016) regularly appear in literature reviews on the issue. Many authors deplored that urban agriculture is not sufficiently integrated into urban planning and Lisbon’s strategies, and the question of how citizens perceived urban agriculture was raised (Delgado 2018). The idea of presenting the various ways in which food has been produced in Lisbon throughout history in a museum exhibition could be, to some extent, a breakthrough – a way to make people more sensitive to the importance of Lisbon’s hortas in the context of a more global ecological transformation of the city into a more sustainable one. As many environmentalists emphasised, whilst policymakers might have difficulties involving citizens in the transformation of society, art touches people and points to what people care about most (Art in Context 2022). This is something this exhibition succeeded in doing.

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Bibliografia

Art in Context. 2022. “Environmentalism Art – The Importance of Climate Change Art.” Art in Context, August 19. https://artincontext.org/environmentalism-art/

Delgado, Cecília. 2017. “Mapping Urban Agriculture in Portugal: Lessons from Practice and Their Relevance for European Post-crisis Contexts.” Moravian Geographical Reports 25 (3): 139-153.

Delgado, Cecília. 2018. “Contrasting Practices and Perceptions of Urban Agriculture in Portugal.” International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development 10 (2): 170-185.

European Union. 2020. Lisbon: European Green Capital 2020. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

Marat-Mendes, Teresa, Inês Isidoro, Joana Catela, Mafalda Pereira, João Borges, Sara Silva Lopes, and Carolina Henriques. 2021. “Drivers of Change: How the Food System of the Lisbon Metropolitan Area is Being Shaped by Activities, Initiatives and Citizens Needs Towards a Sustainable Transition.” Cidades, Comunidades e Territórios 41-62.

Oliveira, Rosário, and Maria João Morgado. 2016. “Planning the Urban Food System of the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon: A Conceptual Framework.” In Agriculture in an Urbanizing Society Volume One: Proceedings of the Sixth AESOP Conference on Sustainable Food Planning: “Finding Spaces for Productive Cities” November 5-7, 2014 Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, ed. Rob Roggema, 7-29. Newcastle, England: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Ribeiro Telles, Gonçalo. 1996. Um Novo Conceito de Cidade: A Paisagem Global. Matosinhos: Contemporânea Editora, Câmara Municipal de Matosinhos.

Wesener, Andreas, Runrid Fox-Kämper, Martin Sondermann, and Daniel Münderlein. 2020. “Placemaking in Action: Factors that Support or Obstruct the Development of Urban Community Gardens.” Sustainability 12 (2): 1-29.

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Notas

1 Addressed in detail through the first two parts of the book, pp. 20-93.

2 See the chapter from Daniela Araújo and Ana Paula Antunes, pp. 50-53, and then p. 57.

3 See, for instance, the chapter from Luís Ribeiro, pp. 134-135.

4 See the chapter from Samuel Niza, pp. 129-133.

5 See the chapter from Teresa Marat-Mendes and Patrícia Bento d’Almeida, pp. 120-128.

6 See the chapter from David Santos, pp. 110-117, the chapter from Daniela Araújo, pp. 140-157, and that from Ana Domingues, Graça Ribeiro and Rita Folgosa, pp. 194-205.

7 See the map of various types of vegetable gardens in Lisbon, made by Carlos Cabral Loureiro/Design Gráfico, pp. 118-119.

8 See the chapter by Maria Figueira and Daniela Araújo, pp. 117-191.

9 See the contributions of David Avelar and Florian Ulm, pp. 163-175.

10 A point further explored by Ana Domingues, Graça Ribeiro and Rita Folgosa, pp. 115-117.

11 See the chapter written by Isabel Rodrigo, pp. 136-139.

12 See the chapter written by Atelier Parto, pp. 158-161.

13 Seed bombs, invented by Japanese farmer Masanobu Fukuoka, consist of a mix of clay, plant substrate, seeds and water. The objective is to place them wherever possible and to encourage sustainable cultivation without mobilising soil, pesticides or artificial fertilisers.

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Para citar este artigo

Referência eletrónica

Sandrine Simon, «Museu de Lisboa (org.) – Hortas de Lisboa: Da Idade Média ao Século XXI = Lisbon Vegetable Gardens: From Middle Ages to the 21st Century [exposição e catálogo]»MIDAS [Online], 15 | 2022, posto online no dia 15 dezembro 2022, consultado o 14 junho 2024. URL: http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/midas/3481; DOI: https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.4000/midas.3481

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Autor

Sandrine Simon

Interdisciplinary Research Centre for Education and Development – CeiED, Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias, Portugal, sandrine.simon.dina@gmail.com, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3769-9834

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Apenas o texto pode ser utilizado sob licença CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. Outros elementos (ilustrações, anexos importados) são "Todos os direitos reservados", à exceção de indicação em contrário.

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