SustUrbanFoods

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


Networking: Visit to Toronto’s urban agriculture projects and Ryerson University

Urban agriculture project have spread over Toronto, as it can be seen in the UA projects map of the Toronto Urban Growers website. Project are classified among community gardens (Toronto parks, Public housing, other), allotment gardens, school and childern’s gardens, urban agriculture businesses (producers), organizations, rooftop gardens, greenhouses, beehives and orchards.

Taking advantage of my visit to North America for the ISIE-ISSST 2017 conference, I visited Prof. Joe Nasr at Ryerson University (Centre for Studies in Food Security), who showed me some of the vibrant UA projects in the city of Toronto.

 

Ryerson Urban Farm – link

Taking the advantage of a former green roof, the Ryerson Urban Farm started to cultivate the roof of one of the Campus buildings with a pilot plot. Currently, the Farm crops the entire rooftop, including two recent beehives, have some spots with container cultivation around the campus, a food forest and a flower garden. The Farm employs soil-based ecological growing methods (crop rotation, composting, mulching). Tours, educational programs and community engagement complement the food production of the rooftop farm. Food is sold through farmers’ markets (in the same Campus), to restaurants and via Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA).

The Farm in the news – link

 

Evergreen Brick Works – link

EVERGREEN Brick Works is a “place where the world can experience sustainable practices that enable flourishing cities of the future”. Through the renovation of a deterioring heritage building of past industry in Toronto’s Don Valley, this new spot of the city is a public space and meeting point to exchange and disseminate about green cities, ecology, planning, design, technology and arts. Regarding urban agriculture, Brick Works hosts a farmers’ market on Saturdays, the largest market of Toronto which started in 2007, engaging a large community to get to know local producers. Evergreen also hosts a demonstrative Urban Farming Unit by Ripple Farms (see below). Furthermore, citizens can find local seedlings and urban gardening elements in the EVERGREEN shop at Brick works to develop their own urban gardens.

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Know more: Evergreen Brick Works: A Story of Change – Video link

Ripple Farms – link

Ripple Farms is a social enterprise developing the aquaponics technology and business moel in Canada, with its first Urban Farming Unit placed in Evergreen Brick Works. The project aims to produce food locally, in an organic manner, year-round and seeking for resource efficiency (e.g., water and nutrients recirculation). Currently, the unit produces Tilapia and different greens (Arugula Microleaf, Buttercrunch Lettuce, Chard Flamingo, Frisee Endive, Little Gem Lettuce, Mustard Sprouts, Purple Basil, Sunflower Sprouts). Food production is combined with education and dissemination, such as workshops for citizens and schools.

 

FoodShare at Eastdale – link

The School grown program at Eastdale Collegiate Institute is one of the UA programs of FoodShare in the city of Toronto. The rooftop garden implemented in the former rooftop playground of the school is made of wooden beds and self-watering buckets. Soil with compost is employed for the cultivation. The main objective of the project is to educate and tran youth in food production, cooking and marketing. The education is also the main axis of the business model, complemented with the selling of the produce in farmer’s markets and to restaurants. A total of 65 crops are cultivated in this rooftop, dominated by leaf greens, which have the higher value in the market. Fertilization is performed with self-made compost, as composting and waste management is one focus of the School Grown program. During summer, the program employs students looking for summer jobs to fund their studies.

Learn more: FoodShare’s video

 

 

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Participation in the public event “Coltiviamo spazi urbani”

Last 18th December, Susturbanfoods joined the public event “Coltiviamo spazi urbani” organzied by the Làbas collective to present their new garden project ORTEO.

The event was a public meeting between citizens, researchers, activists, organized bodies that are interested in the topic of urban agriculture. The goal of the event was to explore the environmental, social and economic aspects of these new practices, share the experience of concrete initiatives and imagining possible scenarios for the city of Bologna.

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The roundtable was composed by:

  • Daniela Gasperi – PhD students in the Departmend of Agricultural Science  – UniBo
  • Esther Sanye-Mengual – MSCA fellow, Research Centre for Urban Agriculture and Biodiversity (Rescue-AB) – UniBo
  • Maurizio Bergamaschi – Sociologist of the territory – UniBo
  • Joan Crous – social cooperative Eta Beta Onlus (Bologna)
  • Luana Iori – Gandusio Orti (Bologna)
  • Stefano Scarascia – Arvaia – Agricultural cooperative of citizens of Bologna

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The event was followed by an organic aperitif with km.0 products in collaboration with Làbiopizza from Labàs and the social brewery Schiumarell.

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COLTIVIAMO SPAZI URBANI

Cibi, relazioni e altre trasformazioni nella città contemporanea

Le aree urbane rimandano a paesaggi cementificati dove la natura ha a disposizione solo aiuole e parchi per crescere e colorare di verde alcuni interstizi della città. Ma esistono altri spazi dove piante e individui possono interagire creativamente nella costruzione dell’ambiente urbano? A Bologna, già da alcuni anni, molti fra singoli e gruppi si sono attivati per riprendere un contatto diretto con la natura e donare ai luoghi nuovi significati. Partendo da prospettive differenti, in forma individuale o collettiva, hanno trasformato tetti, balconi, piazze e aree dismesse in orti e giardini comunitari, dove è possibile coltivare, insieme alle piante, anche nuove relazioni sociali. In una città sempre più anonima e frammentata dove i processi di riproduzione del capitalismo globale intervengono nelle forme del consumo, della speculazione immobiliare e dell’esclusione sociale, gli orti urbani si configurano come laboratori di sperimentazione locale, dove costruire nuove strategie di resistenza all’egemonia del modello neoliberale e rivendicare una gestione collettiva degli spazi urbani e rurali. Autoproduzione di cibo, scambio di conoscenze, consapevolezza ecologica, incontro e convivialità, solidarietà tra culture e generazioni, costituiscono azioni ed obiettivi che esprimono una nuova domanda di città e rimettono al centro l’individuo con le sue scelte e le sue aspirazioni.
Domenica 18 dicembre 2016, dalle ore 18:30, vi aspettiamo a Làbas per un incontro pubblico tra cittadini, ricercatori, attivisti, realtà organizzate che sono interessati al tema dell’agricoltura urbana. Andremo a scoprire le dimensioni ambientali, sociali ed economiche di queste nuove pratiche, partendo dalla condivisione di esperienze concrete e immaginando possibili scenari per la città.

Ne parliamo con:

Daniela Gasperi – Dottoranda Dipartimento Scienze Agrarie – UniBo
Esther Sanyé-Mengual – Centro Studi e Ricerche in Agricoltura Urbana e Biodiversità (Rescue-AB) – UniBo
Maurizio Bergamaschi – Sociologo del territorio – UniBo
Joan Crous – Eta Beta Cooperativa sociale Onlus (Bologna)
Luana Iori – Orti di via Gandusio (Bologna)
Stefano Scarascia – Arvaia – Cooperativa agricola di cittadini bolognesi

A seguire aperitivo biologico e a km zero con Làbiopizza a Làbas e Schiumarell – Birrificio sociale.

 


Knowledge exchange with students at UNIBO

The Marie Sklodowska-Curie individual fellowship promotes the knowledge exchange between the experience researcher (who did the mobility) and the host institution. As part of this exchange, I perform seminars and specific lesson on life cycle assessment (LCA) for the students at DIPSA (UNIBO).

To date, I had the opportunity to perform the following lessons:

 


Seminar at the Department of Agricultural Sciences of UNIBO

As part of the dissemination of the project, three seminars will be held in the Department of Agricultural Sciences as an opportuniy to exchange knowledge with the colleagues from UNIBO.

Today, we offered the first seminar at DIPSA where we presented an overview of the project, including objectives and expected results, and we showed the dynamics established in the past WORKSHOP with the stakeholders in Bologna.

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The two other seminars at DIPSA are planned as follows:

  • October 2017 – Presentation of the methodological framework and preliminary results
  • May 2018 – Final presentation: Results and policy recommendations

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Workshop on participatory research design – Bologna, 9/11/2016

A total of 20 stakeholders of the urban agriculture development in Bologna joined the workshop in participatory research design for the development of the methodological part of the project. We had representation from the administration – City Council of Bologna, the Regione Emilia-Romagna, ENEA-, associations – Associazione BiodiverCity-,  companies – Horticity, Azienda agricola Floema, Associazione Campi Aperti-, on-going projects in Bologna – Via Gandusio, Spazio Battirame, Làbas, Progetto Orteo, Orti Salgari -and young researchers on food systems.

The workshop consisted of three main parts:

A) Introductory presentations:

  • Presentation of the project SUSTURBANFOODS: “Integrated sustainability assessment of social and technological innovations towards urban food systems” – Prof. Giorgio Gianquinto, Dr. Esther Sanyé-Mengual  – Centro Studi e Ricerche in Agricoltura Urbana e Biodiversità, Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Alma Mater Studorium-Università di Bologna
  • Presentation of urban agriculture projects in Bologna:
    • Orto sul tetto di Via Gandusio, Luana Iori
    • Spazio Battirame, Joan Crous
    • ResCUE-AB e l’agricoltura urbana a Bologna, Dr. Francesco Orsini

B) Group dynamics:

  • Elements of environmental, economic and social sustainability of urban food systems
  • Quantitative methods and indicators for valuing the sustainability of urban food systems

C) Individual exercise

  • Valuation of the ecosystem services of urban agriculture: environmental and socio-cultural services

Watch now the VIDEO of the workshop, clicking in the following image:

vimeo

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Case study: iPom Pellerrossa – Bologna (Italy)

Location: Bologna, Italy
Typology: High-tech protected farm
Urban area: Peri-urban
Innovation type: Technological innovation
Main functions: Water recirculation – Integrated pest management – Geographical synergy

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HISTORY & CONTEXT

PELLEROSSA is born as the first eco-friendly tomato in the region of Emilia – Romagna by employing agronomic techniques that respect the environment. They are promoted as “100% sustainable” since it grows in a clump of earth wrapped with coconut fiber in a high greenhouse, solid and bright. Every day, hour after hour, is fed with natural substances in order to grow healthy and tasty.

AGRICULTURAL CHARACTERISTICS

Crops: 2 varieties of tomato

Techniques: Hydroponic rockwool production

Irrigation: Use of well water – Drip irrigation – Use of fertigation (NPK)

Use of renewable resources: –

Sustainable practices: Pesticides-free (Integrated pest management with benefitial insects) – Local production – Minimization of water consumtpion – Use of residual hot water from the bioenergy plant

Other products: –

LINKS