Edible City Solutions for a better world!

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.

The Edible City Project is presented at Envirofest 2022 in Tunisia

An awareness action on the edible city concept of the EdiCitNet project was carried out by the project team within REACT in collaboration with the project “To preserve in herbarium the flora of Tunisia and to work out a tool of assistance to its identification: FEM/SGP” in the framework of Envirofest. The activity was aimed at children under the title “Let’s learn botany by playing”. The children were asked to guess and define seeds and plant parts while closing their eyes. They had to (i) define the name of the plant and/or seed, (ii) identify if it was a vegetable, spice or fruit while using their other senses: touch, smell and taste. This activity allows them to develop their sensory abilities towards the plant world, to create other links with plants and to identify/visualize plants daily used in our food. Seeds of spices (Coriander, Caraway, Cumin), vegetable seeds (Pumpkin, Corn, Carrot, Parsley, Chard) and aromatic plants (Jasmine, Thyme, Rosemary) have been carefully selected for this event. The exercise is not easy for the children. Expressions of astonishment, surprise and curiosity were complemented by questions that were often abundant. Laughter broke out throughout this highly appreciated awareness activity. Samples of seeds (pumpkin, corn) were distributed to the children with explanations on the steps to follow to sow them since it is the right season for planting.

The City Team of Sant Feliu de Llobregat participates in learning activities and conferences

First, on June 15th, a training session was held by the City of Sant Feliu de Llobregat and Arran de terra within the framework of the course “Urban green/blue structure: considerations for adaptation to climate change” organized by the Barcelona provincial council (Diputació de Barcelona, DIBA). The course was aimed at technical staff of DIBA and other municipalities. During the course, several strategies to adapt to climate change in the framework of urban green/blue strategic planning were discussed as well as some successful initiatives and examples in this regard. The EdiCitNet planning process carried out in Sant Feliu de Llobregat was explained taking into account the context and background of the project. Also, some specific projects linked to EdiCitNet (such as Alimentem Collserola) and its main challenges from the perspective of the transition of its food system were presented. There was also a dialogue around good practices and challenges in the implementation of strategic planning processes and local agroecological transition, with a specific focus to the example of the action plan for school agroecology in Sant Feliu de Llobregat and the main actions implemented in the city school playgrounds and canteens.

Second, the team participated in the workshops on urban agriculture of the Sustainable Food Policy Working Group of the Catalan Network of Municipalities for Sustainability. This conference, which consisted of two online sessions, took place on 29th June and 6th July. During the conference, experiences and knowledge about the management of municipal farms were shared in order to move towards a more sustainable food system promoting local production, agroecology, food sovereignty and seasonal food.

Finally, the team also took part in the course “Interdependents, co-responsible: the 2030 Agenda as an opportunity” of the Summer Courses of the University of Barcelona. During the course, the SFLL team talked about the role of sustainable cities and communities in order to advance towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 11) explaining the experience of Sant Feliu in the framework of the EdiCitNet project.

Tunisian project partner REACT participates in World Environment Day

On June 4th 2022, 4he Tunisian Association for Sustainable Development, Research in Action REACT participated in the World Environment Day which took place on Saturday, 4th June 2022 at the City of Science in Tunis by co-organizing a workshop entitled “Participatory Research and Citizen Engagement for Environmental Protection”.

The World Environment Day event was co-organized with the collaboration of the City of Sciences of Tunis, the Specialized Unit of Communication Science and Society (UniSS) & the Science Boutique of the Pasteur Institute of Tunis (www.pasteur.tn) and the Higher Institute of Applied Biological Sciences of Tunis.

EdiCitNet was also present during the programming with a session presenting the objectives and the strategy of the project. At a time when environmental issues are emerging as major challenges of the coming years, the EdiCitNet concept was presented as a solution to make cities more edible, support local food systems and create positive impacts of the urban environmental and urban citizens’ health. One of the objectives

of the workshop was to discuss how to exploit available urban green spaces, he use of pesticides, as well as how to reduce food waste in order the sensitise the participants to the environmental challenges related to the food system.

Participation in this event was a valuable opportunity to expand the Edible Cities Network and inform people in Tunis about the project.

EdiCitNet welcomed at EnviroFest Event on 21 May 2022 at the “Cité de la Culture”

During this year’s Envirofest Festival, May 20-22 2022, an environmental village was se up in the hall of the City of Culture in the Tunisian capital, Tunis. EdiCitnet contributed to the environmental village through project partner REACT’s half-day programming for the event entitled “Water, Biodiversity and Urban Agriculture – Let’s Talk”. The REACT team presented a short film to explain the objectives and strategy of EdiCitNet in Tunisia. At a time when food supply and environmental sustainability are emerging as major challenges of the coming years, EdiCitNet is working to make cities edible, resilient and more autonomous. The example of Carthage, a pilot edible city in Tunisia, and the role played by the municipality with the Carthage City Team, which is working to draw up an Edible Masterplan for the city, were highlighted and applauded.

The programme was an opportunity to exchange with guests and visitors on two questions:

  • Urban Agriculture in Tunisia, reality or dream?
  • What levers are there we can use to ensure Tunisia develop edible cities?

The participants were sure that it will be possible to make urban agriculture in Tunisia a reality. The issue is how to go from small scale practices – window boxes or vegetables grown in a private garden – to urban agriculture on a city-wide scale. This led to the second question which was about main levers. It was decided that one clear lever was the mobilization of civil society and the necessity of collaboration with the local structures already in place.

Want to join the Edible Cities Network and become part of the movement? Click here to sign up.

EdiCitNet Workshop on “Edible Neighbourhoods for Berlin” at the Berlin Senate’s Summer Conference

On June 10th 2022, the workshop “Edible Neighbourhoods for Berlin” was organised as part of the SenUMVK (Senate Department for the Environment, Urban Mobility, Consumer Protection and Climate Action) Summer Conference.

The workshop was aimed at staff members from Berlin’s Neighbourhood Management programme (part of the German capital’s “Social Cohesion” initiative), as well as other city stakeholders. The goal was to reflect on the current situation in Berlin’s neighborhoods and identify potentials, opportunities and strategies for implementing more edible neighborhoods in the city.

At the beginning of the workshop, more than forty participants were welcomed by Tina Hilbert (Senate Department for Urban Development, Building and Housing) and Sarah Al-Alawi (Stadtkümmerei), who presented the workshop schedule. All participants were then asked to reflect on the current situation in the different areas where the Neighbourhood Management programme is active. With the help of area maps, the participants reflected on where Edible City Solutions (ECS) already exist and which areas could serve for the implementation of ECS in the future.

Afterwards, experts from different fields were invited to introduce the following topics:

(a) Community gardens (Paula Firmbach and Daniel Dermitzel, Prinzessinnengarten)

(b) Biodiversity (Ulrike Peters, Senate Department for the Environment, Urban Mobility, Consumer Protection and Climate Action)

(c) Kiez-Parklets, (Merlin Pitz, Senate Department for the Environment, Urban Mobility, Consumer Protection and Climate Action)

(d) Rainwater Management (Samuel Pearson and Paul Kober, Regenwasseragentur Berlin)

(e) Participatory Climate Protection (Eva Hage, Verbraucherzentrale Berlin e. V., and Tim Schumann, Bezirksamt Pankow – Amt für Weiterbildung und Kultur)

Following these so-called “expert pitches”, the participants gathered in small groups and compiled questions for the experts. For the expert sessions, five tables were set up, that were supervised by the experts from the above-mentioned fields. The sessions were organized in a World Café format. There was a total of three rounds of twenty minutes each, during which the participants could ask the experts questions about the implementation of edible neighbourhoods. There was a lively exchange between the participants and experts during the workshop, with many questions asked and answered.

Thank you to all participants, experts and volunteers who made this exchange on edible neighborhoods in Berlin so exciting and enlightening!