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EDIBLE ESTATES regional prototype garden #10: ROME, italy


Location: originally developed at The American Academy in Rome, permanently installed at Centro Sociale Ex-SNIA, Rome, Italy
USDA plant hardiness zone: 9b
Established: September 2010, relocated July 2011
Garden exposure: Southeast
Size of garden: 55 x 60 feet

A garden of fruits, herbs, and vegetables is planted on the rooftop terrace at the American Academy in Rome using the trash and empty containers from the residents. Empty plastic bottles, paper cartons, wood fruit crates, burlap sacks, cardboard boxes, and plastic containers are used for starting seeds and creating small mobile planting beds. A compost worm bin turns kitchen scraps into fertile worm casting compost, and later elements of project may include bee and bat accommodations, rainwater catchment, laundry lines, and other modest homesteading strategies possible on any Roman terrace. The story of the garden is told through daily photos, this dedicated webpage, and posts on Wikidiary.

In late July the garden was donated to the the Ex-SNIA community center, a vast abandoned industrial complex now home to groups like Ciclofficina and a place for local unemployed and immigrant communities to gather, meet and hold events. Volunteers and organizers installed the garden elements in a new arrangement making use of locally scavenged materials in the spirit of the original garden (wood palettes for enclosure and to lift the planting beds off the ground) and integrating existing plantings (small fruit trees and zucchinis in bathtubs). More about Ex-SNIA here

Thanks to
Giulia Fiocca and Eva Tennina



Roma Mangia Roma
By Fritz Haeg, with Lorenzo Gigotti
Published by Nero Publications
Editing and translations by Lina Protopapa
Photographic portraits by Gilda Aloisi
Release expected fall 2011

Roma Mangia Roma recounts the diverse personal stories of food in contemporary Rome, providing a snapshot of a city in a moment between a familiar but fading traditional past and a future increasingly tied to global networks and influences. By portraying the evolving ways that Romans organize their lives, homes and city around food may lead to a broader portrait of it’s shifting cultural, economic, environmental, and social circumstances. Opening stories by historians, writers, cooks, and activists will frame the book with views to the past, present and future - from ancient Roman eating customs to contemporary challenges, and possible future trajectories. The central content of the book will be approximately 30/35 portraits of Roman residents - through interviews and photographs of them in their kitchens and dining rooms - presenting the diverse intimate details of daily life in the city, and the way food customs are shifting among the nearly five generations to be portrayed. An appendix will provide a basic bibliography, a few recipes, a Roman food calendar and map, plus a glossary explaining particular terms and Romanisms referenced in the texts.

Roma mangia Roma raccoglie diverse storie personali legate al cibo e alla gastronomia romana contemporanea, fornendo un ritratto della città in un contesto temporale a cavallo tra un passato tradizionale, ancora familiare, che però sta scomparendo e un futuro sempre di più connesso a network e influssi globali. Il ritrarre l'evolversi dei modi con cui i Romani organizzano le loro vite, le loro abitazioni e la loro città intorno al cibo, mostrerà un più ampio ritratto di quelli che sono i cambiamenti culturali, economici, ambientali e sociali della città. Il libro, che aprirà con testi composti da storici, scrittori, cuochi e attivisti, è strutturato secondo diversi punti di vista, passati, presenti e futuri: dalle abitudine alimentari dell'antica Roma alle sfide della contemporaneità, fino all'individuazione di possibili traiettorie future. Il contenuto centrale del libro è costituito da circa 30 ritratti di cittadini romani - realizzati attraverso interviste, fotografie di questi nelle loro cucine e nelle loro sale da pranzo - in modo da presentare i diversi intimi dettagli della vita cittadina e di come le abitudine gastronomiche di circa cinque diversi generazioni, ritratte nel libro, stanno cambiando. Un'appendice fornirà una bibliografia essenziale, qualche ricetta, un calendario e un mappa del cibo romano, più un glossario che spiegherà alcuni termini dialettali contenuti nei testi.



Hungry City: Rome
An evening with Carolyn Steel, British architect, lecturer, and author of ‘Hungry City’
Thursday, June 23rd, 2011, American Academy in Rome

18:00 Lecture
introduced by:
Fritz Haeg, Garden Club of America Rome Prize Fellow
with responses from:
Mona Talbott, Rome Sustainable Food Project Executive Chef
Carlo Vigevano, Abbate e Vigevano Architetti principal
Michael Waters, Donald and Maria Cox Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize Fellow
presentation in English, followed by garden reception
20:30 Dinner
by Rome Sustainable Food Project

On June 23rd, 2011 Carolyn Steel gave a public lecture at the American Academy in Rome related to her best selling 2008 book “Hungry Cities: How Food Shapes our Lives,” which depended heavily upon early research in Rome, and how the ancient city fed itself. She will discuss the ways in which cities evolve around food, and in particular how the city of Rome has been shaped by these influences over time. Responses and questions from selected members of Academy community including chef Mona Talbott, architect Carlo Vigevano, scholar Michael Waters, and moderated by Academy fellow Fritz Haeg, followed by a garden reception and a special Rome Sustainable Food Project dinner al fresco.

Carolyn Steel is an architect, lecturer and writer whose chief interest is exploring the inner lives of cities, focused on developing a lateral approach to urban design that looks at the everyday routines that shape cities and the way we inhabit them. She has run design studios at the London School of Economics, London Metropolitan University and at Cambridge University, where her lecture course ‘Food and the City’ is an established part of the degree program. Her 2008 book “Hungry City: How Food Shapes our Lives” follows food’s journey from land to city, through market and supermarket, kitchen and table, waste-dump and back again, to show how food affects all our lives, and impacts on the planet. Check out Carolyn’s book, the review in the Guardian, and TED talk.



The Food of Rome and Lazio by Oretta Zanini de Vita, 1994

The World of Food in the Roman Countryside by Oretta Zanini de Vita, 2001

Hungry City by Carolyn Steel, 2008

How to Imagine: A Narrative on Art, Agriculture, and Creativity by Gianfranco Baruchello and Henry Martin, 1984

Roman Farming by K.D. White, 1970

Art, Culture, and Cuisine by Phyllis Pray Bober, 1994

Subsistance Farming in Roman Italy By Joan M. Frayn, 1979

Meals in a Social Context edited by Inge Nielsen, 1994