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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.

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.

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!

Marketplace Team Hosts Workshop on How to Find Space for Urban Food Initiatives

In May, the EdiCitNet Marketplace Business Consulting Team organised a new workshop to discuss the different kinds of spaces available in cities that can be used to start an nature-based urban food initiative. The workshop was conducted in German and targeted early-stage urban food entrepreneurs.

Felix Mollenhauer from the German Association of Building Greening offered insights into how best to organise edible greenery on a rooftop setting. This was followed by input from Anneli Karlsson from the “Edible City” of Andernach, who talked about various measures in the city that use both public and private spaces for growing edible plants. Both presenters focussed on important resources and key partnerships that can be leveraged to help different stakeholders successfully implement Edible City Solutions.

After the presentations, participants were divided into breakout rooms to discuss their ideas with the experts using some concepts from the EdiCitNet Business model canvas (which you can find in the Growing Jobs in Urban Agriculture Playbook). The session closed with a few key points on water usage from Erwin Nolde from Nolde & Partner. The consulting team also offered one on one consulting sessions to the participants to further elaborate their ideas and concepts.

Are you involved in an urban food initiative and looking for FREE consulting services to strengthen and maintain the sustainability of your organisation? Drop a line to the EdiCitNet Marketplace Business Consulting Team and get started today.