On the 22nd of March 2019, ICEI promoted a one-day job shadowing experience for 11 migrant/asylum seeker youngsters in the city of Milan, in collaboration with his local partner CasciNet (https://cascinet.it/), a social enterprise/non-profit organisation working in the areas of sustainable agriculture, participatory re-generation of local neighbourhoods and sustainable development.

The goal of the job-shadowing day was to increase their job and soft skills, while promoting environmental awareness.



The youngsters visited the Vetabbia Park located in the outskirt of Milan, where CasciNet, in collaboration with the municipality of Milan, is promoting a campaign to regenerate fallow lands through syntrophic agriculture techniques*. The project, called Agroforestiamo (Let’s Agroforestry), will provide the area with more than 1.300 fruit trees, vegetables and other plants that will be pre-purchased by the local neighbourhoods.


After a brief theoretical introduction on sustainable and syntrophic agriculture, the youngsters accompanied CasciNET experts in their daily work and observed simple but innovative agro-ecological practices, such as how to fertilize the soil in sustainable ways without any use of chemicals.


Following the job shadowing procedure, most of the time was dedicated by acquiring new skills through practical actions directly on the field. This methodology gave the opportunity to learn about agro-ecological principles even to those who were not able to speak the Italian language fluently. Thanks to the job shadowing experience, the young people were able to learn new knowledge and skills in the field of sustainable agriculture – which is becoming a key sector of the Italian labour market – as well as strengthen their soft skills, such as like working in group.

Drawing on the different experiences from the youngsters involved, which come from various countries, final reflections were made about the link between intensive agriculture and desertification.

The one-day job shadowing experience represented the testing by ICEI of a new good practice learned from the Upload your Dreams project leader Salva Vita Foundation.

*What is Syntrophic Agriculture?

This term was coined by Swiss farmer Ernst Gotsch in the mid of the ‘80s. It is a regenerative agriculture system to contrast deforestation, soil degradation, wasteful water consumption, pollution, and erosion produced by other techniques such as chemical intensive agriculture. Syntrophic agriculture allows harvesting crops in harmony with earth necessities.