Madrid Parking Day to promote health and sustainable food mobility - Food Wave

Madrid Parking Day to promote health and sustainable food mobility

21 October 2021

For 20 years and during Parking Day, citizens have conquered the public space for cars, where they remain idle for 80% of their useful life. In Madrid Parking spaces are reserved by schools to place different performances facilities such as orchards, gardens, parks.

This year, 14 secondary and high schools, plus an Environmental Education Center, have taken the streets and have shown that parking spaces can be used to claim, in accordance with the objectives of Food Wave, a greater commitment of the institutions with the support for local food production and local commerce, which is, after all, what maintains the dynamism of the cities, and the economy of the neighborhoods. 

So, after a difficult year for all schools, the most expected Parking Day took place on September 17th. It was not only a special date because the European Mobility Week had not been celebrated last year, but because this celebration is addressed this year 2021, not only to the unsustainability with which we people move, but to the unsustainability with we are moving our food. Why this theme? Precisely because the vindication of local production and seasonal consumption, without unnecessary packaging and buying in neighborhood stores, are some of objectives of Food Wave, a European project in which the Madrid City Council is immersed, aimed at the young people to become aware of the relationship between food and climate change.


Thanks to the Food Wave project, the City Council provided the schools with seasonal and organic fruits and vegetables (36 kilos to each school), in addition to the already traditional plants from the municipal nurseries. The schools have surprised by their creativity and originality when using these foods: the parking spaces have been “disguised” as market stalls that have transmitted the values of sustainable and healthy eating to the neighbors.

The Valdecás school focused on the problem caused by plastic that wrap food, oftenunnecessarily. There was also time to learn about the food chain first-hand: throughout the morning all the classes were able to interview a farmer from Sierra de Madrid and a fruit vendor from neighborhood. Together they discovered the benefits of local trade and production. Santamarca school carried out dynamics on seasonal food through relay games, quizzes and other fun activities, as did others such as Antonio Domínguez Ortiz or Jesús Maestro School. Some Food Wave activists from the Polytechnic University of Madrid came to carry out activities designed by themselves at Pradolongo school. In the words of one of the boys that the activist Paula interviewed: “Since we are the new generation and we are the ones who are going to stay here, we have to contribute something at home, at work and anywhere. I say that with today I am contributing something to my generation”. Like Pradolongo, Barrio Simancas and Norte Joven schools directed their efforts to transmit to their neighbors the message that a healthy diet can save the planet. Few passersby escaped the
interventions of the youngs of these schools, who are making their best of their participation in the Food Wave project. San Isidro neighborhood was able to enjoy the local trade market that the students of the San
Alberto Magno School installed throughout the morning. The Madrid City Council installed its own Park (ing) Day near the CIEA Dehesa de la Villa. For this they had the help of the IMDEA (Madrid Institute for Advanced Studies), one of the main collaborating entities in the Food Wave project.

Without a doubt, this year the parking day will be remembered for its special theme, for its color and flavor and for the educational activities designed to raise awareness about the problem of the distance that food travels.



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