Edible City Solutions für eine bessere Welt!

A Look Back at the IRI THESys Edible City Solutions (Online!) Summer School

After the IRI THESys Edible City Solutions Summer School was cancelled in 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic in Berlin, in 2021 the EdiCitNet team re-designed the schedule so that it would work in a purely digital format – with online lectures and virtual group work. The team embarked on this 2-week learning journey with 30 participants from Asia, Africa, Europe, South and North America, exploring sustainable urban food systems with many talented and experienced experts from among the EdiCitNet project partners – including the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, Prinzessinnengärten Kollektiv, Association la Recherche en Action, Transition Oststeiermark, the City of Andernach and Bundesverband Gebäudegrün e. V. – BuGG.

The summer school opened with a public webinar entitled “Urban Transformation: Building City Resilience with Edible City Solutions”, led by Dr Ina Säumel, Suhana Reddy and Thomas Wachtel from the EdiCitNet Project. Then the participants were introduced to their challenge for the next two weeks – to develop their very own Edible City Solution, designed to tackle specific urban challenges in a city of their choice.

Throughout the two weeks, the participants were introduced to the four pillars of Edible City Solutions – social, economic, ecological and political – via input sessions with experts from the field. In between the sessions, they worked collectively on their group projects, across time zones and borders, using Miro, Slack, Zoom, Moodle and other online tools. At the halfway point, the Berlin participants of the Edible City Solutions Summer School even got the chance to meet offline as they went on a “Harvest Your City” foraging tour through the city with project partner Mundraub. At the end of each week, in an interactive “Reality Check” session, the groups pitched their creative Edible City concepts to the panel of experts and received practical feedback on the feasibility and potential impact of their concepts.

The final Edible City Solutions included: a citizens’ cooperative turning rice straw residue into biochar in Valencia (Spain) the development of policies and guidelines to support the integration of edible landscapes into the outskirts of Girona (Spain), an edible garden initiative for social housing in Vienna (Austria), the installation of a rooftop farm in an abandoned carpark in Berlin (Germany) and a strategy to strengthen a farm-to-fork initiative in Jeonju (Korea), through the introduction of permaculture practices.

When asked if they enjoyed the summer school the participants said:

„It was fantastic! Great choice of lectures and speakers to teach on the 4 pillars each lesson.“

„I enjoyed these days a lot, thank you! I hope that from here new real edible projects emerge and we can continue sharing knowledge.“

I loved the „Harvest your City” tour where I learned how biodiverse a city can be. Within just an hour, I became much more sensitive to my surroundings.”

And what did they learn?

 “Inspiration comes when different countries and backgrounds work together.”

“The value of transdisciplinarity!”

 “Learners from all over the world can cooperate and come up with amazing ideas!”

“I have identified an area in my city that has loads of potential for an ECS. WE will be coming up with a plan to take to the municipality!”

We thank all of the participants and all of the experts who took part, for their dedication and motivation throughout these two inspiring weeks. We look forward to the next edition of the ECS Summer School, set to take place in summer 2022.

Exploring Green, Edible Futures for Berlins Housing Cooperatives

On September 8th, EdiCitNet’s Principal Investigator, Dr. Ina Säumel, presented the EdiCitNet project at a workshop organised by the Housing Cooperative Forum (Genossenschafts Forum e.V.) in Berlin.

The aim of the event was to discuss sustainable urban design and the links between green urban spaces and those spaces which bring people and communities together. The organisation was also keen to explore cooperation opportunities with partners from the fields of nature conservation, community gardening and edible urban landscapes and look at how these kind of elements could be developed and integrated into housing cooperatives in the future.

Alongside the Edible Cities Network presentation, there were presentations from Berlin’s Prinzessinnengarten Kollektiv (the site of one of the EdiCitNet Living Labs) about their methods and participative strategies for involving neighbouring communities in their garden and from a project called Treffpunkt Vielfalt (Diversity Meeting Point) and Vielfalt Leben (Live Diversity) that are transforming the courtyards of residential buildings into biodiverse-rich green areas, together with local residents.

The event started with a guided tour of the Prinzessinnengärten through the cemetery grounds in Neukölln and ended with lunch in the Prinzessinnengärten, with food from their own kitchen, including fruits and vegetables grown directly in the garden.

EdiCitNet kicks off the #EdibleCitySolutions campaign to raise awareness about green urban food innovation

Food isn’t just fuel – it connects us all.

Whether it’s in the form of urban agriculture initiatives, underground or rooftop farms, community gardens or healthy cooking workshops, millions of city dwellers around the world are already bringing the food they eat closer to the cities they live in, and bringing people together at the same time.

How can we make sure that these kind of interventions, products and services – that are contributing to the development of sustainable, green, healthy and liveable cities – get the recognition they deserve, flourish, and multiply around the world? In short, how can we make our cities more edible?

In the run up to this year’s World Cities Day on October 31st we’re doing that with a hashtag: #EdibleCitySolutions!

#EdibleCitySolutions is a month-long social media campaign organised to celebrate World Cities Day 2021 (October 31st) and raise awareness for the positive ecological, social and economic impact of green urban food system innovation. Want to join us? It’s easy! From October 18 to November 12, share an image of food system innovation in your city on your Twitter or Instagram profile – and tag it using the hashtag #EdibleCitySolutions.

The #EdibleCitySolutions initiative is organised by the following projects, that are all working together to make cities more sustainable:

How are they doing that? By designing and implementing concrete examples of food system innovation in cities around the world.

Many of these food system innovations are green, nature-based solutions – like urban food forests or green walls featuring edible plants – inspired by and working in harmony with nature. As well as strengthening local food provision in cities, they also help tackle a whole range of different ecological challenges, including improving air quality, boosting biodiversity, reducing the risk of flooding and lowering temperatures by fighting the heat island effect.

Just as many have an inclusive and participatory nature – like school gardens and community kitchens – and thus help tackle social challenges too, by improving well-being and social cohesion, involving and generating opportunities in socially-marginalised communities and fostering a sense of belonging in cities.

And last but not least, food system innovations can also help tackle economic challenges too and support a local green economy, by creating dynamics for new green businesses and jobs –with businesses selling products grown in urban farms, offering composting services or even organising events in community garden spaces.

Follow the hashtag #EdibleCitySolutions on Twitter and Instagram to discover some of the sustainable food systems innovations being implemented by these different projects and explore the ways that they are not only making our cities greener and healthier, but also – by bringing communities together – make them more socially resilient too.

EdiCitNet, proGIreg, Network Nature, UnaLab, IN-HABIT, CLEVER Cities and CLEARING HOUSE have all received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme.

The city of Sant Feliu del LLobregat hosts the first day of Spain’s „National Meeting of Urban Gardens“ (Encuentro Estatal de Huertos Urbanos)

On the 8th October, the city of Sant Feliu del LLobregat hosted the first day of the Encuentro Estatal de Huertos Urbanos (Spanish National Meeting of Urban Gardens) which took place from 8 to 10 October in Barcelona and the surrounding metropolitan area. The National Meeting of Urban Gardens is a space for exchanging experiences, sharing knowledge and creating synergies between the different gardens and urban agriculture initiatives located throughout Spain. On Friday the 8th, Sant Feliu del LLobregat – a Follower City within the EdiCitNet Project – welcomed the participants with visits to the “El Pla” orchard and the “Les Tovalloles” civic centre.


Finding Sustainable Economic Models in Urban Agriculture – First workshop in Oslo

Nabolagshager and the Agency for Urban Environment (@Bymiljøetaten), hosted on the 30th of September the first workshop of a series of three workshops to help urban agriculture initiatives in Oslo to develop their sustainable financial models. During the first workshop „Identifying and communicating your value“, we looked at how we can align our own personal values and goals with those of our project, and how to communicate the value of our work to the external world.

We want to thank all the participants for attending the workshop at @Linderud gård and we hope they found the session helpful and informative. Special thanks goes to Alice Bischof from @Wageningen University, who came to Oslo to help participants to identify and communicate the value of their organizations using the “Business Model Diamond” tool.

We look forward very much to meeting you all the participants again at the next workshop on the 21st of October!!

You can find more information about the workshops „Finding Sustainable Economic Models in Urban Agriculture“ in this link: https://www.edicitnet.com/workshops-oslo-finding-sustainable-economic-models-in-urban-agriculture/