EVA is an initiative out of the neighborhood of Arganzuela. The resident effort is focused on gaining access to the Mercado de Frutas y Verduras de Legazpi, an old, vacant fruit and vegetable market in Arganzuela on the south edge of the city center. In September of 2014, 70 community members from various neighborhood groups met to discuss a joint project of community programming in the market and formed Espacio Vecinal Arganzuela (EVA). Since then, they have laid out a plan, including more than a dozen proposed projects including dance, arts, gardening, a food cooperative, a cinema, and more. The city, who owns the market, has other plans for the space: privatizing it and filling it with a spa, fitness center, and shopping - uses that would certainly generate economic profits, but which do not meet community needs. In 2016 conversations with the municipality have continued and EVA got access to the inside of the market for the first time for an evening workshop in January. EVA meets weekly and continues petitioning the city, and has presented a 20 page plan outlining the justification, uses, and management plan. While they still do not have access, they’re coming up with creative ways to do whatever they can. They host film screenings, projecting the films onto the outside of the building and using the adjacent lawn for seating; and in spring of 2015 they converted a tiny strip of land alongside the market into an urban garden sprouting lettuce, zucchini and tomatoes.
This huerto, called La Sanchita, was inspired by Huerto la Revoltosa across the neighborhood and has been a rallying effort for the group all summer. Every evening, participants gather there to water and tend the garden. Watering the garden has actually been one of their biggest challenges as the site does not have an active water connection. Instead, members have developed clever yet illegal means to get water to the strip. Many don't have any growing experience, but some were drawn to gardening having previously been part of a grupo de consumo, a Spain-style CSA where members receive farm produce and periodically help out at the farm.
Read more about the project here.