God is green… and lives in the Cascine

Manifattura promotes green event

The God is Green…and lives in the Cascine festival met with considerable success and was greatly appreciated by the public. It represented a fitting closing event for the Estate Fiorentina programme and was an opportunity to speak about how we can create a liveable public space, both by day and by night, in an open dialogue on ecology and the city.

Over two weeks, the God is Green…and lives in the Cascine festival delivered fun and entertaining methods of inspiring sustainable practices and lifestyles amongst Florentine citizens. The two weekends during the festival (15-16 and 20-22 september) also saw the involvement of families from the neighbourhoods of Novoli and Piazza Puccini, through a multitude of activities: artistic performances, group dinners, “blind taste tests”, a green design market, conferences, dj sets, a contemporary circus, street food, bike rides with guides in italian and english, and workshops for both children and adults.

The free-entry festival featured the circular economy as its central theme, looking at global challenges to sustainability alongside everyday measures that people can make in order to safeguard the planet. To mark the occasion of the festival, bee hives were constructed and coloured before being installed on the roof of the Manifattura. These will form an urban beekeeping operation that will lead to the independent production of honey, and which will continue throughout the redevelopment of the complex. The bees, 50,000 of them to be precise, were also the main focus of an artistic installation called Arnia, curated by Andrea Cavallari, which was housed in the basement and open to the public throughout the festival.

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Chapter I - God is Green..

The festival opened on saturday 15 september with the talk “Dare to be Green. Challenges and Dreams for those who do Business in a Relationship with Nature”, which saw Elena Ianeselli (Circular Wool | Lottozero / textile laboratories), Antonio Di Giovanni (Funghi Espresso), Tommaso Cecchi de Rossi (Cecchi de Rossi), Gregory Eve (greenApes), Giovanni Petrini (Ortobioattivo) discuss the lessons they had learned from their respective experiences in innovative and community companies, which promote practices of reuse, recycling, and waste reduction.

At the same time, under the cool of the porches in the Piazza dell’Orologio, a large group of “citizen scientists” participated in the “Che aria tira?” workshop, constructing air quality monitoring stations, and learning about a network of citizens who collect information on air quality, making the results available in real time on an online map.

In the early evening, a workshop was held with Cecchi de Rossi and Meme, which combined the roles of both designer and barman around the values of 100% Tuscan, 100% natural, using cocktails as natural colourants for high quality leather products.

Throughout the first weekend the public were able to take part in an interactive journey through the circular economy, thanks to the collaboration of Mokarico, Funghi Espresso and Ortobioattivo, to see how their coffee grounds are used to cultivate Pleurotus mushrooms, and to learn how waste products can be turned into great resources for nature.

Those with a sweet tooth could also challenge themselves in “blind taste tests” set up by Degustibus, relying solely on their palate to differentiate between organic and industrial products.

Finally, in addition to coffee, mushrooms and tastings, the public were able to do their shopping at the organic market and eat at the rural street food stalls present in the square during the festival.

The first day concluded with a large concert, the show “Botanica“, held on saturday 15th in Piazza dell’Orologio. “Botanica” is a new project by DeProducers – the musical collective formed by Vittorio Cosma, Riccardo Sinigallia, Gianni Maroccolo and Max Casacci – which merges music and science to tell the wonders of the plant world, thanks to the participation and scientific advice of the Professor Stefano Mancuso, one of the most important international botanical researchers in the field of plant neurobiology. The show completely filled the square, with an audience of over 400 people enjoying more than two hours of music and narration. The evening finished with a dj set from Biga il Climatico.

On sunday 16 september, from the morning there were woodworking classes for children put on by the Associazione Culturale Fantulin (from 10.30am-12.30pm and 2-6pm), whilst adults were able to take part in workshops on printing postcards using a manual screen printing method, thanks to Ink P (from 11am-1pm), or on creative reuse using hot presses to assemble different materials, held by Lottozero (from 2-5.30pm), and also origami using recycled paper, with Arual Dem (for children and adults, 6-7.30pm).

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Chapter II - ... and lives in the Cascine

During the course of the week, the spaces at Manifattura Tabacchi were open and active, not only with the exhibition Arnia, but also by hosting more than 100 experts in collaborative spaces from all over Europe, who on the 20th, 21st and 22nd shared their knowledge and good practices reguarding “making communities”, starting from the experience of the Impact Hub network.

Impact Hub European Gathering

The second chapter of the festival opened on thursday 20th with guided group bikes rides, in both italian and english, through the local neighbourhood, returning to Manifattura Tabacchi at 9pm for “the Big Up show”, curated by Simone Romanò (Cirk Fantastik). At 10.30pm the roof of the Manifattura became a stage, and the sky became the ceiling, for the show “A playlist for aliens”. The show tells the story of the Golden Record, the first disc launched into space, narrated by Gaetano Grappa and Marco Drago of the creative group Barlumen. In the evening, dj sets transmitted through headphones created a silent outdoor disco.

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The group bike rides, shows and the silent disco also took place on friday 21st and saturday 22nd. On friday 21st at 9pm, Cirk Fantastik staged the show “Bus Stop” by the company Five Quartet Trio, while on saturday 22nd it was the turn of “Ego Domina” by Magda XS, also at 9pm.

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During the afternoon of saturday 22, with the support of Avventura Urbana, local residents were invited to a public meeting in which, following a few simple rules, they worked for the entire afternoon on building a list of proposals, suggestions and observations relating to the two themes that had emerged as priorities during the listening phase initiated during the Open Day of june 23; green spaces and meeting places.

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