Edible City Solutions for a better world!

2nd Edible Cities Network Conference Held in Barcelona in March

The Edible Cities Network held its 2nd annual conference, ‘Advancing the Edible City’, from the 15th – 17th March 2023. This built on the success of 2022’s ‘Making Cities Edible’ conference, and was the first year that the annual conference was held in-person. The conference was hosted and co-organised by RMIT University, the Solidarity Foundation of the University of Barcelona, and Humboldt Universität zu Berlin.

With a combination of keynote talks, roundtable discussions, and field trips to urban food projects in Barcelona, the event provided a platform to hear from experts in the fields of urban farming, sustainable food collectives, community gardening, and food systems research. It also offered a space to create and discuss future visions for our urban food systems at various networking sessions.

40 speakers representing 25 different organisations spoke as guest speakers, and they were heard by an audience of 125 in-person attendees, with speakers and in-person attendees coming from 20 countries across 4 continents. On the first day, 100+ online attendees also logged into the live stream.

Kicking off with talks, discussions and the Edible Cities Network Awards

The first day was held in the beautiful Aula Magna of the Universitat de Barcelona, and opened with short remarks from the various conference organisers, as well as short speech from the commissioner of Food Policy in Barcelona, who remarked that ‘cities must becomes allies’ in the fight to transform our food systems.

After a day of talks and discussions, there was a poster and networking session, where representatives from 8 different organisations presented posters explaining their work. Simultaneously, attendees had the option to go on an interactive walk to a nearby market, creating their own ‘edible maps’ en route where they drew maps based on the greenery they could see, and would like to see, in the area.

The day ended with the Edible Cities Network Awards Ceremony, where four winners from very diverse initiatives were awarded.

Finding out more about greening Barcelona & trips out into the field

Day two kicked off with a session focussing upon urban planning in the city of Barcelona. Attendees heard about the city’s urban nature plan, whose goals include increasing the amount of green space by 1m2 per resident, doubling the number of participants in nature-based activities, adding an extra 100 hectares to the city’s natural parks, and creating 10 biodiversity shelters. The administration also introduced the city’s urban agriculture strategy, which focusses upon three main objectives: more greenery and biodiversity; conservation and improvement of existing biodiversity; carried out with and for residents, done using approaches involving governance and education.

The session was followed by a tour of the recently reopened Jardines del Doctor Pla i Armengol, where gardeners from the association for the promotion of urban gardens gave a tour of the produce growing. The rest of the day was spent on field trips, from which there were three to choose:

1: Edible City Solutions, Social Challenges, and Education – organised by the University of Barcelona Solidarity Foundation. This trip included a visit to ‘ASSIS’ Foundation and Centre Cruillo, a garden where the FSUB provides a qualification in urban agriculture for vulnerable inhabitants of the city. It ended with a tour of the ‘Rec Comtal’, a canal that supplied Barcelona with water for ten centuries.

2: Promoting agroecological transition in Collserola Natural Park – Arran de Terra Co-operative. Attendees visited the vineyard L’Olivera in Collserola, a natural park on the outskirts of Barcelona that has over 30 peri-urban agriculture initiatives. The vineyard works with socially excluded citizens who live on-site, and gardens using agroecological practices.

3: Permaculture & radical social change – 12p Permaculture Design. Attendees visited the Can Masdeu centre and its community gardens, and enjoyed a workshop on permaculture, gardening, and worm composting held by permaculture educator Alfred Decker. The land has been managed as a commons by the Can Masdeu initiative – a network of projects attempting to recover the valley as an agricultural and social space – since 2001.

Engaging the margins and filling foodbanks

The final day opened with talks focussed on ‘engaging the margins’, and was held at the Universitat de Barcelona’s recently opened Food and Nutrition Campus. Discussions opened on the theme of ‘edible schoolyards’, looking at how actors produce edible schoolyards, and what the barriers are for implementing more greenery in schoolyards. This talk followed by an introduction to research on urban agriculture in Dhaka, and the problems that disenfranchisement create for engaging with urban agriculture. Finally, an interactive ‘bingo’ workshop on the barriers and strategies for the implementation of edible nature-based solutions rounded off the opening talks.


There was then a visit to the greenhouse and gardens, which are maintained by students at the university, with all produce being donated to local food banks. For the final session of the conference, attendees chose from four workshops: on the future of urban agriculture, on sustainable public procurement, on planetary health and social engagement and a session where participants were invited to play the ‘Edible City Game’, which is a simulation game offering the opportunity to build a more sustainable Sant Feliu de Llobregat.

The conference closed with a speech from Nevelina Pachova from RMIT Europe, inviting attendees to join the Edible Cities Network to stay in contact and carry on the conversations initiated over the 3 days. The day ended with a goodbye lunch held outside, with a final opportunity for networking between participants.

New Publication: Successful scaling of Edible City Solutions to promote food citizenship and sustainability in food system transitions

New publication from the Edible Cities Network! Colleagues from the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and Oslo Metropolitan University have published a new article in Frontiers in Sustainable Cities, exploring upscaling processes for edible nature-based solutions.

Sustainable, productive and biodiversity-friendly urban landscapes are a strategic step in transitioning to future-proof, liveable and healthy cities Edible nature-based solutions, otherwise known as “Edible City Solutions”, comprise a wide range of different forms of sustainable urban food production, distribution and consumption which use innovative principles of ecological design combined with closed material and energy flows. Edible City Solutions contribute to a local green economy, reduce cities’ overall ecological footprint, enhance social cohesion, human health and well-being and contribute to bridging the gap between “farm and fork”. These benefits have been tested and monitored in Living Labs where a wide portfolio of different solutions have been implemented and scaled in order to accelerate their uptake and use in urban landscapes.

The study documents and analyses different scaling practices and activities of the co-created Living Labs – together with local actors within the “scaling community” in Andernach, Berlin, Havana, Oslo and Rotterdam. We follow a mixed method approach and analyse data by applying the different scaling pathways of scaling up, scaling deep, scaling wide, scaling across and scaling soft previously identified through a systematic literature review. Results are presented as ongoing scaling stories, experiences and challenges in the Living Labs. The study also highlights examples of scaling practices beyond the Living Labs and suggests strategic plans for future scaling. Scaling processes, strategies and approaches are critically reviewed and discussed. Observations are condensed into eleven recommendations for scaling edible nature-based solutions.

Read the new publication in full.


NetworkNature New Graphics Highlight the Positive Impacts of NBS

How are EU nature-based solutions projects improving health and wellbeing? Supporting social justice and social cohesion? And boosting climate resilience?

Nature-based solutions hub NetworkNature has carried out a scoping of current NBS projects and turned their positive impacts into beautiful visualisations!

Explore the full resource here.


Network Nature Visualisation Urban Ecosystems NBS

Rotterdam City Team Holds Workshop on Green Initiatives at the City Makers’ Congress

Nienke Bouwhuis and Philip Kuypers from Rotterdam’s network of green initiatives Groen010, took part in the City Makers’ congress in November together with members of the city administration. They held a workshop called “Green Connections”, where participants visualized all of the green spaces in the city and linked them up on a huge map of Rotterdam. By interpreting all those networks, they also discovered where missing links are and discussed how they could be closed up.

Members of Groen010 also got together to work on their communication strategy in November, meeting with a representative of London National Park City to discuss Groen010’s campaign to turn Rotterdam into a National Park City too. In December, the team also held another edition of their monthly “Green Cafe” events, where Rotterdamers are invited to join members of Groen010 to visit different green initiatives in the city.

Photos: Aad Hoogendoorn


Stadsmakerscongress 2022 Rotterdam Groen010
Stadsmakerscongress rotterdam groen010

First Edible City Exchange Event Takes Place in Berlin

At the end of August, the EdiCitNet team in Berlin hosted the first of a series of “City Exchange” events – a chance for project partners to meet in one of the project’s Front Runner Cities, learn from each other’s experiences of urban greening, edible cities + sustainable food and visit the two Living Labs located in the city.

At the event were project partners from Oslo, Andernach, Vienna, Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Sempter pri Gorici, Rotterdam and of course Berlin, including representatives of city administrations, urban farmers, green city activists and academic researchers.

The 4-day exchange kicked off with a visit to the Living Lab in the eastern district of Hellersdorf, a presentation by Prinzessinnengarten Kollektiv about their work in the garden and the Edible City Solutions they’re developing there, as well as a presentation from the local “Neighbourhood Management” team about their work to support and develop urban greenery and public green spaces for the neighbourhood. The end of the day featured a cooking workshop using saved food with local social enterprise – and EdiCitNet Award winner – Restlos Glücklich. It was also the time for members of the public to come by and meet the network, learn about the project and enjoy the sun in the garden!

The second day was based in Berlin’s other EdiCitNet Living Lab in Neukölln. Located in a still-active cemetery, this Living Lab is exploring the use of unused green space in cemeteries for urban gardening, and community events – side by side with visitors to the graves. After enjoying a tour of the Living Lab, from the raised beds to the field of edible crops and the herb garden, the visitors took part in a workshop exploring innovative ways to have more edible, green spaces in cities.

The weekend – also the final two days of the event – was spent networking and sharing knowledge with each other and also with the visitors to the Urban Gardening Summer Camp that was also taking place in the same location. There was a chance to enjoy talks, workshops and presentations all around the topic of urban agriculture and community gardens. Here too, the public were invited to come by and meet the project members and learn more at a public Visit the Living Lab event.

It was a truly inspiring, insightful and exciting three days in Berlin, and felt particularly special after nearly 2.5 years of online meetings and virtual work together. Thank you to Prinzessinnengarten Kollektiv, the Berlin Senate Department for Urban Development, Building and Housing and the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin for organising the event!

We are looking forward to the next City Exchange event, coming up in the city of Oslo, Norway.