Orchard in the City

“This orchard in Nova Gorica not only provides fruit on high-growing trees that are more resistant and do not require spraying, but it will also serve as a small genetic bank. Unfortunately, these varieties are no longer available in tree nurseries and have been almost forgotten,” says Gregor Božič, a researcher of old varieties and film director who is implementing the ATLAS OF FORGOTTEN ORCHARDS project as part of the European Capital of Culture programme.


The orchard with the first ten apple and pear seedlings, named Krnelova, Perifigi, Trdoleska, Aljanka and Fermentinka, is located along the Koren stream and was presented to the public for the first time yesterday, on the opening day of the international Urbinat conference, in which the Municipality of Nova Gorica and the University of Nova Gorica are partners.


Urbinat is implemented by an international consortium of 28 research and business partners and 7 European cities. Through the Urbinat project, Nova Gorica has established links with Porto in Portugal, Sofia in Bulgaria, Nantes in France, Brussels in Belgium, Siena in Italy, Høje-Taastrup in Denmark and Khorramabad in Iran. The project is based on innovative, participatory and nature-based spatial planning (NBS-Nature Based Solutions) with the aim of regenerating and connecting urban areas. In this context, “healthy corridors” are being created to enable new and green connectivity and sustainable regeneration of urban neighbourhoods.


The specificity of the New Gorizia project is that the green corridor includes the border area and at the same time the heritage corridor of the conurbation, connecting Koren, Laščak’s Villa with the Botanical Garden, Kostanjevica, Gorizia’s Cappella Street and Europe Square. “We are entering a very important phase of the project, which is creating a wider “healthy corridor” of Nova Gorica and Gorizia based on the concepts of the Urbino, and we are working with the Municipality of Gorizia here. The corridor includes a link between the Slovenian and Italian Korna area, which is, after all, one of the objectives of the Green Spots and Movement project, part of the GO! 2025 programme,” says Saša Dobričić from the University of Nova Gorica.


“Nova Gorica brings a new theme to the Urbinat project,” says project coordinator Gonçalo Canto Moniz from Portugal. He is referring to the theme of the border as a barrier to be crossed and to the specific dimension of culture associated with green, which has come to the fore in Nova Gorica. “If I compare Nova Gorica with the other cities in the project, I see a cultural dimension and I see a city that is already green. But now we are thinking about green in a different way, in the European Capital of Culture programme you are already thinking in this direction, together with the Urbinat you are creating interesting programmes that revive old farming methods and old fruit varieties. So old farming approaches have emerged as a way to reinvent public space in the city.”


Asked about the contribution of the orchard to the neighbourhood, the citizens and its sustainability, Gregor Božič says: “The basic idea of the project was to connect the countryside with the city centre. Gorizia was quite advanced in terms of fruit growing a hundred years ago, and there was a culture of fruit growing here.