Zagreb team: Goran Andlar, Monika Kamenečki; LNI coordinator: Jeroen de Vries
The role of urban agriculture for European metropoles
Urban agriculture may have an important contribution for accessibility and security of food. It can also favour local economy and social cohesion. The mission statement of the COST action for urban agriculture (Cost action, 2015) defines the challenges: Urban agriculture is a hidden champion. It has been neglected for decades by both, urban and agricultural policies.
City planners have treated the agricultural land as potential building ground, agricultural policies have focussed on the rural areas. But due to worldwide megatrends as urbanisation, food security and the need for a sustainable development Urban Agriculture is back on the global agenda. Urban Agriculture is of high relevance for European policies, too. In this perspective Urban Agriculture becomes a fascinating tool to achieve the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy. Based on a long tradition of direct customer orientation Urban Agriculture provides a high knowledge and innovation potential. Its products aim at high quality, specialization and services and therefore are trend-setting for the whole agricultural sector.
Urban Agriculture can contribute to resource efficiency by linking material flows and shortening supply chains (production miles & smart growth). In addition it is an excellent tool for building up, designing and maintaining the cities green and climate active infrastructure. It can provide the urban dwellers with high quality recreational experiences, especially if it is addressed as part of the cities‘ tangible and intangible cultural heritage (sustainable growth). Urban Agriculture is actually on the agenda of most European cities because it offers among others benefits for health and well-being, food consciousness and food sovereignty and especially for social inclusion and job creation on a low threshold (inclusive growth).”
Foodscapes are understood as all those areas that contribute to food production such as arable land and farms, orchards, allotments and vegetable gardens in combination with the social capital they build. Food and its production may help us connect and find shared interests across cultures. Food production could be re-envisioned as a partnership between consumer associations, foundations guiding the overall goals and corporate partnership of farmers. This would provide opportunities for jobs for disadvantaged groups like migrants and refugees. The connection between people and food should be strengthened to attract children to spend time outdoors, rather than in front of a computer screen. The landscape should give people the opportunity to grow their own food for their physical and mental well-being.
Multifunctional, inclusive and organic farms can help to protect and develop green corridors consisting of nature reserves, nature development zones and landscape development areas. Therefore foodscapes should be well connected to the networks of recreation and nature protection to trigger mutual benefits.
Study and planning area
The study area consists of the former brownfield area between the centre of Sesvete and Novi Jelkovec, the city gardens in Sesvete, and the agricultural areas to the west (in the City of Zagreb) and east of these.
It is linked to the NBS nr 6 activity of the proGIreg project: Managing Urban Green areas in cooperation with urban farmers and urban gardeners and NBS nr 3: Community based urban farming and gardening on post-industrial sites.
Roggema&Keefe (2014) state that for planning strategies and design concepts for local food production one needs to know the demands side: how much, what and where agricultural products are needed and what is needed for healthy, sustainable and attractive environments. Challenges are to create a strong social connection in neighbourhoods be created that maintain local food production.
Main questions are:
- How can a productive network model that consists of several types of urban agriculture, ranging from community gardens, urban farms, high tech food production to a profitable whole?
- How can agricultural production help to close cycles of material and energy and support circular economy?
- What would a sustainable food landscape look like in order to provide also other ecosystem services, such as fostering biodiversity, creating habitats for indigenous organisms, and climate mitigation?
- How can a foodscape support social cohesion and accessibility for all inhabitants?