SustUrbanFoods

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


SustUrbanFoods at the AESOP Sustainable food planning conference – 14&15th November – Coventry, UK

Last week, Susturbanfoods joined the AESOP Sustainable food planning group in the annual conference, hosted by the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University (UK), on the 14-15 November.

The concept of the conference was the following:

After seventeen years from its early conceptualisation, and ten years on from its institutionalisation (Van der Valk and Viljoen 2014), sustainable food planning is a thriving transdisciplinary research and policy field bringing together policy makers, academics, and practitioners across the globe. Food charters, food strategies and food policy councils have multiplied, ‘alternative food networks’ have gained significant and growing shares of the food market and new forms of localisation of food production, including urban agriculture, are gaining ground and becoming central components of new food policy strategies.

Yet, the scale and speed of the ‘food’ crisis make us see these achievements as modest and utterly inadequate. Urban food poverty and malnutrition, and the related use of food banks, are on the rise even in some of the most wealthy countries of the world; the most vulnerable populations in both the global North and South are unshielded by austerity politics, food-commodity speculation, land grabbing or staple food price rises. Diet-related diseases (such as diabetes and obesity) are growing at alarming rates among children in the supposedly ‘well-fed’ countries of the world. We still waste between 30% and 50% of the food we produce while millions of farmers and land workers growing our food across the globe are struggling to make a living. And the environmental impacts of our food ‘regime’ and diets are devastating.

Planning for sustainable food production and food provision is more than ever urging us to look for more effective, equitable and just approaches that radically change not only the way we grow food, but the very core of our living space.

In the conference, we participated with a study on how urban agriculture is implemented on vacant spaces towards social inclusion and urban regeneration, presenting the results published in an article in Sustainability (MDPI).

Two case studies of SustUrbanFoods exemplify these practices:

Via Gandusio is a community rooftop garden that was implemented by the municipality of Bologna, in collaboration with the University and the association Biodivercity to foster the community building of the residents.

ViaGandusio

The Spazio Battirame of the Eta Beta social cooperative renovated an abandoned building and the adjacent agricultural space in a suburbial district of Bologna with the aim of producing local and organic vegetables that are sold to Bologna citizens and employing adults and youth in risk of social exclusion.

Battirame

We took part in the session “Urban agricultural planning & design” 

  • Daniel A.C., Aubry C., Colle M., Barbillon A. “Development of an urban agriculture project: “projection” and “revelation””
  • Solman H. van der Valk, A., Pedroli, B “Alleviating tourist pressure on city centres by fostering alternative food experiences away from tourist hotspots”
  • Sanyé-Mengual E. Gasperi D., Pennisi G., Rizzati N., Bazzocchi G., Magrefi F., Mezzacapo U., Centrone Stefani M., Orsini F. Gianquinto G. “The use of vacant spaces for urban horticulture in the city of Bologna (Italy)”
  • Mees C. “Participatory design and planning for food production, shelter and cultural expression: Shared urban gardens in New York City”

During the conference, a Book launch on the topic took place, including the following publications:

 

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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?

AGENDA:

  • 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


Case study: DIE URBANISTEN aquaponics system – Dortmund (Germany)

Location: Dortmund, Germany
Typology: Modular protected aquaponics
Urban area: Urban
Innovation type: Technological innovation
Main functions: Water recirculation – Polyculture – Research

IMG_20170507_163418

HISTORY & CONTEXT

The aquaponics system of die Urbanisten is placed in the Union Gewerbehof in Dortmund. It was implemented in 2013 for demonstrative purposes. The installation consists of a 22m2 unheated greenhouse made of aluminum, plastic and glass, where the aquaculture and soil-less production are integrated. On the on hand, the aquaculture production is performed in a 1m3 IBC container and water is filtered by biological and mechanical processes. On the other hand, the soil-less production system is done on expanded clay in polyethylene boxes.

AGRICULTURAL & AQUACULTURAL CHARACTERISTICS

Crops: Tomatoes, Mint, Lettuce, Arugula, Lettuce, Lemon balm, Basil (African blue), True Water Cress

Fish: Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella), Tench (Tinca tinca)

Techniques: Aquaponics production: Aquaculture tank with filters (biological & mechanical) + Soil-less vegetables production with expanded clay

Irrigation: Tap water – Recirculation – Automatic irrigation

Use of renewable resources: –

Sustainable practices: Pesticides-free – Integrated pest management – Local production – Minimization of water consumption – Sustainable production of protein sources

Other products: –

LINKS


Case study: SWUAS aquaponics system – Soest (Germany)

Location: Soest, Germany
Typology: Protected aquaponics
Urban area: Urban
Innovation type: Technological innovation
Main functions: Water recirculation – Polyculture – Research

IMG_20170329_102131

HISTORY & CONTEXT

The aquaponics system at SWUAS (Fachbereich Agrarwirtschaft der Fachhochschule Südwestfalen) was implemented for research purposes. The installation started in May 2015. Regarding the aquaculture system, European catfish are held in three 1.1 cubic meter tanks, equipped with filters, feeders and warm water. The fish production is connected to the floating hydroponic system hosted in the greenhouse next door, growing in deep water culture beds (DWC). Aquaponics seeks for resource efficiency by recirculating the water between the two systems: the water from fish farming (aquaculture) flows into the plant basins (hydroponics) where the fish residues are used as fertilizers.

AGRICULTURAL & AQUACULTURAL CHARACTERISTICS

Crops: Lettuce (Salanova cook RZ), Lemon balm and Basil (African blue)

Fish: European catfish (Silurus glanis)

Techniques: Aquaponics production: Aquaculture tanks with UV disinfection and filters (biological & mechanical) + Floating hydroponic production with wooden beds

Irrigation: Well water (Elevated amount of calcium carbonate)– Recirculation – Automatic irrigation (Tap water is available)

Use of renewable resources: –

Sustainable practices: Pesticides-free – Integrated pest management – Local production – Minimization of water consumption – Sustainable production of protein sources

Other products: –

IMG_20170329_101239

LINKS

 


SustUrbanFoods in the AESOP Sustainable food planning workshop for PhD and Young scientists: Making, measuring and re-thinking sustainable food systems

The AESOP Sustainable food planning PhD and Young professionals group aims to bring together academics, policy-makers and practitioners from an international audience that are at the beginning of their career.

These days they organized the AESOP SFP Workshop for PhD and Young professionals in Berlin with the aim of helping young researchers and practitioners to build a network in the field that can lead to future collaborations and develop a multidisciplinary and international participation at the AESOP SFP Conferences.

In the framework of the SustUrbanFoods Project, the results from the participatory workshop were presented in the MEASURING SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEMS track, leading into an interesting discussion on:

  • what is sustainability?
  • who defines sutainability?
  • how can we measure social sustainability?
  • why should we measure it?
  • how is that important in policy-making?

AESOP_workshop

Program “Making, measuring and re-thinking sustainable food systems”

23 March 2017

  • 12:30 – 13:30 Welcome and Opening Remarks
  • 13:30 – 14:30 Key Note Speaker: Katrin BOHN
  • 14:30 – 14:45 Break
  • 14:45 – 16:15 Parallel Sessions on Making, Measuring, and Rethinking Sustainable Food Systems
  • 16:15 – 16:30 Coffee Break
  • 16:30 – 18:00 Parallel Sessions on Making, Measuring, and Rethinking Sustainable Food Systems
  • 18:00 – 19:00 Wrap-up

AESOP_workshop_1

24 March 2017

  • 08:30 – 09:00 Opening
  • 09:00 – 09:30 Reports of the Three Sessions
  • 09:30 – 11:30 Workshop Networking: Neela ENKE
  • 11:30 – 11:40 Short Break
  • 11:40 – 12:00 Wrap up (survey/evaluation, conclusion)
  • 12:00 – 13:30 Lunch and Transfer
  • 13:30 – 16:30 Field Trip
  • 16:30 – 17:00 Farewell

IMG_20170324_095008


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:

cropped-img_3249.jpg

 


Guest editor in Sustainability’s special issue

If you’re working on evaluating the sustainability of urban agriculture by advancing in new methodological approaches or assessing specific case studies, check out the information on the new special issue of the Sustainability journal:

“Assessing the Sustainability of Urban Agriculture: Methodological Advances and Case Studies”

Guest Editor :Dr. Esther Sanyé-Mengual

Research Centre in Urban Environment for Agriculture and Biodiversity (ResCUE-AB), Department of Agricultural Sciences (Dipsa), Alma Mater Studiorium – University of Bologna, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: sustainability assessment; interdisciplinarity; urban food systems; participatory research design; industrial ecology; life cycle assessment; ecosystem services; geographic information systems; qualitative research; geographic information system; environmental justice

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue calls for papers that contribute to the assessment of the sustainability of urban agriculture, both by advancing methodological approaches and by providing results from case studies. Cities have been identified as an essential element in addressing global concerns, particularly due to the growing population, and food flow is key in the urban metabolism and in the design of future sustainable cities. Resulting from the environmental awareness of the globalized food system and urban social and economic gaps, urban agriculture has grown in recent years aiming at increasing food security while coping with climate change. Urban agriculture ranges from socially-oriented initiatives, which address social gaps (e.g., social inclusion, food deserts) employing low-tech techniques and educational programs, to high-tech for-profit farms, which focus on maximizing yields (e.g., rooftop greenhouse, aquaponics). The sustainability profile of such diverse forms of urban agriculture might consistently vary and contribute differently to the three dimensions of sustainability: Environment, society, and economy. To date, the environmental benefits of urban agriculture as a local production system, the ecosystem services of urban gardens (both environmental and socio-cultural services) or contribution to food security have been evaluated in specific case studies. However, studies covering sustainability assessments of social and economic aspects are limited, as are integrated methods for assessing urban agriculture.

This Special Issue aims at covering this gap by considering papers that evaluate the sustainability of urban agriculture, proposing new methodological approaches, and assessing new case studies that provide new data on the diverse nature of urban agriculture. New methods and data are essential to support decision- and policy-making for the design of sustainable cities. The consideration of the three dimensions of sustainability, integrated analyses, and quantitative approaches are of particular interest.

Dr. Esther Sanyé-Mengual
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Keywords

  • environmental sustainability
  • social sustainability
  • economic sustainability
  • urban gardening
  • rooftop agriculture
  • life cycle assessment
  • ecosystem services
  • sustainable development goals
  • multicriteria analysis
  • social metabolism

 

!! Do not hesitate to contact me for any doubts or details