Integrated sustainability assessment of social and technological innovations towards urban food systems

Scientific dissemination: Seminar at SWUAS

As part of the scientific dissemination of the project, seminars in scientific institutions of every country involved in the project will be held. During the secondment in Dortmund, a seminar in the Fachhochschüle Südwestfalen was organized to exchange knowlege with the researchers.

The seminar lead to an interesting conversation on what is the role of urban agriculture in the Global North and what is the viability of urban agriculture projects. The questions dealt with during the discussion can be summarized in a collection of recent news and online publications:


Outreach events: Participation in the first meeting of the “Aquaponics network of North Rhine-Westphalia”

Yesterday 18th May, SustUrbanFoods joined the first meeting of the “Aquaponics network of North Rhine-Westphalia” to talk about the sustainability of aquaponics and the case studies of aquaponics systems within the project.

The event was organized by Aufbruch am Arrenberg, the association die Urbanisten and the SWUAS university within the framework of the ERASMUS+ Urban Green Train project, as a multiplier event.

The goal of the event was to exchange expertise and experiences between the administration, aquaponics companies, associations and NGOs, service companies and academics of the sector. The three axis of the meeting were the following:

  • How can aquaponics contribute to sustainable food production?
  • Which social and labor market-relevant opportunities open up?
  • Which bodies are involved when an urban aquaponics project is to be implemented?


  • 9:00 am Get-together
  • 9:30 am Welcome
  • 9:50 am What is Aquaponik – Rolf Morgenstern
  • 10:00 am The Urban Green Train Project – Bernd Pölling
  • 10:20 am Sustainability of Aquaponics – Dr. Esther Sanyé-Mengual
  • 11:00 am Break and exchange
  • 11:30 am Climate Expo – Michael Walther
  • 11:40 am The Aquaponik Verband – Mandy Schreck
  • 12:00 hrs Aquaponik Manufaktur – Ingo Bläser
  • 12:10 am Integrated Pest Management – Dr. Peter Dapprich
  • 12:30 am Aquaponics and Social Work – Yvonne Fischer
  • 12:50 pm lunch break and exchange
  • 1:45 pm Panel discussion: Mandy Schreck, Jörg Heynkes, Rolf Morning Star, Peter
    Dapprich, Mrs. Bonitz (?)
  • 2:30 pm The project Arrenbergfarm – Jörg Heynkes
  • 14:40 h Plantastik – Niels Rehkop
  • 14:50 am Aquaponics at the FH Soest – Rolf Morgenstern
  • 15:10 Food Safety – Dr. Eberhard Büker
  • 15:30 h Plant Nutrition – Wolfgang Grüne
  • 15:45 Coffee and closing day

Outreach events: explaining Susturbanfoods to highschool students during the “Giornata del Clima”

Last Friday we visited a highschool in Bologna (Liceo Scientifico Statale Albert Bruce Sabin) in the framework of the “Giornata del clima” event, organized by the ShowRoom Energia e Ambiente from the city council of Bologna (Comune di Bologna Iperbole Rete Civica). The event aimed to put together researchers and young students while raising the awareness of research as well as current Earth issues (commerating the 22nd April – Earth Day).

We talked about the role of local food cultivation in a more sustainable World. First, we presented the research lines at the Research Center in Urban Environment for Agriculture and Biodivercity (ResCUE-AB). Then, we showed the global objectives and the case studies considered in the SustUrbanFoods projects, paying attention to the on-going initiatives in the city of Bologna. Lastly, our colleague Nicola showed how urban and home gardens can be set up by re-using bottles and soil-less techniques.

Starting of the secondment period in Dortmund (Germany)

The secondment planned in the project just started!

Until the end of May, I will be working in Dortmund with researchers, architects and urban planners of the Fachhochschule South Westfalia (SWUAS), the Company hei-tro and the association Die Urbanisten.

The objective of the secondment is to know more about the aquaponics technology and to value two case studies on aquaponics in Dortmund.

During the secondment, knowledge exchange will be produced as well as different outreach activities will take place:

  • Seminar at SWUAS for students and researchers
  • Participation in the Westfalia aquaponics network meeting

Regarding the networking within the project, during the secondment I will participate in two events:



Launching a Cluster on Entrepreneurial Urban Agriculture

In recent years, the growing interest toward Urban Agriculture initiatives lead to the sprouting of a number of networks and think tanks of researchers, entrepreneurs as well as representatives of the public society. This is the case of the FAO group “Food for the cities”, but also of those born within several internationally funded projects (e.g. “Supurbfood”, COST projects “Allotment gardens in European Cities” and “Urban Agriculture Europe”, LLP-Grundtvig “HORTIS”, Erasmus+ “Urban Green Train”, “Carrot City”), or those promoted by world leading scientific societies (e.g. ISHS-Landscape and Urban Horticulture commission).

In order to extend the impact of these projects and activities and especially in the view of creating educational tools for boosting innovative urban agriculture enterprises, efficient forms of cooperation between Research, Education and Business shall be pursued.

This can be reached by creating an international and interdisciplinary Cluster on Entrepreneurial Urban Agriculture. The Cluster will involve different actors: HEIs, research centers, SMEs, NGOs, Policy Makers, etc into a forum addressing research, policy and market priorities, and implementing thematic workshops and awareness events.

The cluster, that will be constituted as a working group, will schedule periodical discussion forum, meetings and newsletter with the final aims of:
1) Create a knowledge exchange platform on most innovative entrepreneurial forms in urban agriculture and main potentials/drawbacks;
2) Connect experts from the different disciplines in order to create a discussion network on how to implement interdisciplinary training offer in the field of urban agriculture;
3) Respond to the needs of both private sector and the civil society at large in order to timely address relevant research questions and promote topics and initiatives to main funding agencies.

The members of the Susturbanfoods project have joined the cluster as representatives of Higher Educational Insitutions (HEIs).

The cluster will be constituted in July 2017 will first meet during the International Symposium on “Greener Cities for More Efficient Ecosystem Services in a Climate Changing World” that will take place in Bologna, Italy on September 12-15, 2017.

If you would like to join the cluster, contact Dr. Francesco Orsini (ResCUE-AB, UNIBO)