WASABI (Wallone de Systèmes innovants en Agriculture et Biodiversité urbaine – Wallonne Platform for Innovative Systems in Agriculture and Urban Biodiversity) was established in the autumn of 2020. As a vast teaching and research platform dedicated to urban agriculture but also urban and peri-urban diversity, it is carried by the Liège University at Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech. This pedagogical tool of 5 ha was developed for students, urban farmers, and citizens. It enables them to discover all the techniques used in urban agriculture. This creates a research space where agronomists, botanists, urbanists, pathologists, architects, and other scientific actors collaborate to improve sustainability, biodiversity, or crop protection for professional urban farms.
On this platform, both high-tech and low-tech innovations and technologies will be tested. It will also identify and measure ecosystem services rendered by urban agriculture. Four main themes constitute this platform:
- The rain garden, illustrating the integration of multifunctional hydrologic management
- The botanical garden, including 400 plant species which will interest any curious observer of plant biodiversity
- The green urban infrastructure, including a directed wasteland, green walls, and roofs
- Urban agriculture with 5 different spaces with greenhouses on a roof, aquaponics, spin farming, permaculture or container horticulture will be studied
According to Haïssam Jijakli, Agronomy Professor directing the C-RAU (Centre de Recherche en Agriculture Urbaine – Research Center in Urban Agriculture) at Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, this is about “creating synergies between the academic world, decision makers and businesses to develop new cropping techniques adapted to urban and peri-urban environments, socially, ecologically and economically accessible to the greater number”. WASABI wants to carry out research and offer innovative solutions and advice to urban farmers.
WASABI would not exist without the support of the European Union and the Wallonia region with a funding of 2.5 million euros.
His Majesty the king of Belgium inaugurated the opening of the platform by planting a pear tree.
The site will give you access to the latest finds of the platform.