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Shared vegetable gardens are a feature of cities across Europe. Whether you call them allotments, community gardens or vegetable plots, there is possibly one near you right now! What is the potential of these pocket plots to support biodiversity? Can our shared gardens be a kind of urban oasis? That's what we hope to explore with NaturaShare, and we invite you to join us on the journey!

One thing is already sure: in recent years European cities have been talking ever more about local agricultural production. Some of this agricultural production is professional market gardening, but collectively managed and citizen maintained vegetable gardens also play a major role in urban agriculture.

Local production shortens supply chains and supports greater food independence, but what does it mean for wildlife and nature in the city? Biodiversity in cities is crucial for all of us, offering benefits in terms of pollination, heat management, and recreational & cultural activities. So let’s explore urban biodiversity together through the lens of our shared vegetable gardens!

A Europe-wide BioBlitz

Explore, discover and share the biodiversity of your city! NaturaShare is a Europe-wide BioBlitz that has been launched across the CIVIS territories with hybrid kick-off event and a coordinated Citizen Data Collection Week from 17 to 24 June 2022 coordinated by the CIVIS Open Labs and local actors.

Wait, what is a Bioblitz?

Bioblitz is the term used for an event which focuses on finding as many natural species (fauna and flora) as possible in a short period of time and in a specific geographical area.

NaturaShare focuses on urban agriculture spaces in the CIVIS cities. So, let’s get on this adventure in the CIVIS cities' most productive green spaces!

A Citizen Science project open to all

The NaturaShare project is participatory and open to all: city residents, vegetable gardeners, naturalists, families, students, teachers, and researchers.

NaturaShare is a Citizen Science activity: the aim is to involve the public in scientific research and thus bring together science and society as a whole in an impactful way. You can contribute to NaturaShare during the Citizen Data Collection Week or even after!

How to participate in NaturaShare

It could not be easier to join NaturaShare, thanks to the open source digital platform iNaturalist!

iNaturalist is a social network of naturalists, citizen scientists, and biologists built on the concept of mapping and sharing observations of biodiversity across the globe. The data collection for NaturaShare will take place through iNaturalist and you can participate on the iNaturalist website or the iNaturalist mobile app (available for smartphone or device on the iOS or Android app stores).

Demonstration video

User instructions

  • Create your iNaturalist account
  • Join the “NaturaShare” Project (in the app click “More” -> “Projects”, then search “NaturaShare” and click “Join”)
  • Explore, discover and share the biodiversity in your local shared vegetable gardens!
    • Take a photo of the species (fauna and flora) which you observe. You can upload your photos later if needed.
    • Submit your photos to the NaturaShare project, under “Projects”, select “NaturaShare” before clicking “Share”.
    • Identify what you have obsevered. You don't know what it is that you have observed? No worries! You can make an initial guess and the observation will be released to the community to “crowdsource” the identification once you submit it. Check back to see what they identify.

You are now ready to take part in this exciting adventure! 

Practical information

Launch of NaturaShare

On 17 June 2022, a hybrid kick-off event launched the NaturaShare project, followed by a coordinated Citizen Data Collection Week.

Watch the replay

Click on the top right corner of the video and scroll through the list to watch the replay in your language!

On the agenda
  • Introduction to NaturaShare: CIVIS Open Labs, intentions and scope of NaturaShare (Etienne Toffin, Brussels)
  • Local stories: showcase videos by local actors of different urban gardens & biodiversity contexts (Bucharest, Marseille, Rome, Tübingen)
  • Sharing and inspiration: discussion panel about challenges, tensions, and perspectives of urban gardens & biodiversity (Jolein Bergers, BRAL, Brussels; Silvia Cioli, Roma; Sophie Gachet, IMBE, Marseille)
  • How to, guidelines, tips & tricks for Bioblitz 

Local partners and contact details

We are working with local actors in the CIVIS cities to develop and implement NaturaShare. These experts really know what is happening with urban agriculture and shared gardens in their city. NaturaShare is open to all, and with the iNaturalist platform you can participate on your own at a time that suits you. However, you can also get in touch with the local actors coordinating NaturaShare activities to join them in their observations or learn more about urban agriculture in your city. 

General contact

Etienne Toffin (Brussels, Open Lab & participation)

Local contacts



CIVIS Open Labs

This event is organised with the participation of the CIVIS Open Labs. Our Open Labs connect CIVIS with local communities in all the cities and regions of our member universities. Through these Open Labs and their projects, we support the development of universities that are participatory, inclusive, and open. By building a community of universities and citizens, we ensure that CIVIS has a real impact on people outside the university at local, regional and international levels.