Menu Bar

Home           Calendar           Topics          Just Charlestown          About Us

Sunday, January 7, 2024

The Italian Garden Project, free from URI

Nostalgia for yesterday and lessons for today in free Cooperative Extension program, open to all

Kristen Curry

It’s not too early to think about summer giardini.

The University of Rhode Island is offering interested gardeners a chance to learn from the tradition of Italian-American gardeners.

On Thursday, Jan. 18, at 7 p.m., the public is invited to experience the beauty and charm of traditional Italian-American backyard vegetable gardens and learn about their relevance for reconnecting to food, families, and the Earth, via a free virtual workshop hosted by the URI Master Gardener Program. 

Mary Menniti, founder of the Italian Garden Project, will share how these gardens serve as glimpses into the past that can lead to a brighter, more sustainable future. Advance registration is required.

Growing up with an Italian immigrant grandfather, Menniti came to know and value his self-reliant lifestyle, careful use of resources, and extensive gardening knowledge. She founded the Garden Project to preserve old-world food and gardening traditions and demonstrate that the wisdom Italian-American gardeners possess is relevant for addressing some of the most pressing challenges of today.

Menniti travels the country documenting the last remaining classic Italian-American vegetable gardens, learning from their creators, and serving as the caretaker for their heirloom seeds and fig trees. The project provides a window into this way of life through blogs, photo galleries, and videos featuring old school gardening know-how, traditions, recipes, memories and more.

The workshop is free courtesy of the URI Master Gardener Program, which was established in 1977 to educate citizens in environmentally-sound gardening practices through the dissemination of factual, research-based information. 

Over 800 volunteers serve as community-based educators, amplifying the impact of Cooperative Extension to improve environmental quality and build healthy communities throughout Rhode Island. The program supports Rhode Island communities and residents through the vast world of gardening, with URI Master Gardeners — and gardens — found across the state.

Learn more about URI Cooperative Extension programs here. For questions, contact or 401-874-2900.