Despite the pandemic, the City of Romainville hosted a MyLocalFoodE event in March 2021 in three different social centers. Around 120 participants attended cooking workshops. To increase awareness, the participants learned to cook healthy from food that would normally go to waste. In addition, kids blind-tasted a variety of fruits and veggies. During the last weeks of March, participants learned how to make jam and cakes from unsold market goods. Apart from tasty goodies, participants left with a recipe booklet to improve their cooking skills at home.
Also people from outside Romainville were able to participate in the MyLocalFoodE event. On March 24th, Romainville organized in partnership with APT/INRAe and Lan3S a web conference on ideas for healthy and local eating. The online event presented four themes: 1) how to grow veggies and raise little animals, 2) food logistics: market on water, 3) urban agriculture, how to bring food production to the city, and 4) a glimpse of the newly opened Cité Maraîchère, a municipal vertical farm
2. Napoli, Italy
In March 2021, Naples (UNINA) hosted three webinars about urban agriculture in collaboration with the Municipality (NAP). They aimed to involve different groups of stakeholders (citizens, farmers, local administrations, pupils, students, associations) in the processes of co-design and co-creation around City Region Food Systems and to start establishing a networking system.
The first webinar aimed to connect different realities that operate in the territory through urban agriculture initiatives. A brief presentation of the FoodE project was done by prof. Francesco Orsini from the university of Bologna. Prof. Stefania De Pascale, from the university of Naples Federico II, spoke on the relevance of urban agriculture for the future sustainable development of our city region food systems.
The second webinar was addressed to students, teaching them about urban agriculture and how to develop sustainable food systems. During the webinar, Doc. Lucia Vanacore talked about the definition of City Region Food Systems, how it is possible to develop them in synergies with teaching and practical activities in schools. Prof. Stefania De Pascale spoke about urban agriculture and its implication for the development of the future sustainable food systems. Prof. Youssef Rouphael talked about the principals and the typologies of soil-less systems; while Doc. Giuseppe Carlo Modarelli spoke possible use and opportunities offered by sustainable integrated production systems like aquaponics.
Finally, the last webinar informed stakeholders and local actors linked to the food sector. Similar to the other sessions, this webinar revolved around discussing ideas on urban and peri-urban opportunities.
3. Sabadell, Spain
Between March and July 2021 Sabadell and University of Barcelona ICTA-UAC (UAB) organized a MyLocalFoodE festival. The event consisted of several days of open doors and visits to FoodE pilots for students, NGOs, and civil society organizations. Almost 400 people joined and learned about urban agriculture! Technicians of the city council explained urban limitations of the facilities, how municipal gardens work, and how they are maintained. Researchers of UAB informed participants about environmental benefits and how local production contributes to reduction of environmental impact. After the visits, debates and tastings of local products were organized.
In Can Gambus, students participated in the co-creation processes and visited the fields of the Agricultural Park of Sabadell where the demonstration pilot is developed. In the second pilot, Carrer Borrell, they visited the plot of Borrell Street where they designed the test space. In this visit, participants could identify different qualities of soil (natural soil, soil with construction waste, remains of pavement of old constructions, etc.) and detect strengths and weaknesses of the cultivation area. Finally, students visited the Urban Agriculture Laboratory of the ICTA building. This laboratory operates since 2015 and consists of two greenhouses for horticultural production integrated into the roof of a research building of the University. During this activity, the students were able to visit and get to know first-hand a different urban horticultural production system that is developed in Sabadell but that is part of the production systems contemplated in the project. It showed the importance of local production, the reduction of Food waste and the City Region Food Systems. Finally, a hybrid meeting was organized for citizens, researchers, students, local entities, public administrations and all members of the FoodE Stakeholder Board. The activity ended with a “tasting” of tomatoes from different origins and cultivation systems (outdoors and greenhouses, soil and hydroponic cultivation; local-industrial crop, etc.) that were valued for their appearance and taste characteristics.
4. Oslo, Norway
On 11 May and 15 June 2021, FoodE partner NBL organized, in partnership with Diechman Oslo Library and Bydel Galme Oslo, the MyLocalFoodE event “Takeaway Plants”. The goal of the event was to engage citizens in discussion about Urban Agriculture through creating a ‘takeaway’ counter with tomato and sunflower plants. On 22 June, they hosted “Edible City – Communal Berry Bush Planting and Food Awareness Event”, with the support of Fragment Architecture Firm. NBL choose to organise an outdoor event, both due to Covid-19 restrictions and because they wanted to reach minority individuals in Oslo, as food literacy is lowest among this group, and that this group is particularly difficult to engage online. The event served two purposes: 1) To increase awareness of local food options in Oslo, including urban agriculture 2) To plant a public berry bush patch at a local high school to increase cultural integration of minority populations through culturally important Norwegian foods. Many minorities in Oslo live in dense areas, with little access to space for urban agriculture and consuming primarily fruit and veggies that comes from outside the EU sold at immigrant-owned shops. Additionally, Norway has a long cultural tradition of local berries as part of the joys of summer. As such, NBL organized a workshop where citizens could map public-available foraging food options in Oslo and plant berry bushes in the school yard. Finally, they shared a meal of local food and facilitated discussions at each table about food issues, such as high prices.
5. Berlin, Germany
In Germany, several events were organised in Berlin and Dortmund, between June and July 2022. On the occasion of “The Long Day of City Nature” (11 June 2022), Nolde proposed guided tours of his “Waterhouse” to general public, in partnership with ILS and Aquatectura. The “Long Day of City Nature 2022” presented the living nature of the city region of Berlin and offered visitors hands-on action focusing on biodiversity in city regions. Participants learned a lot about greenhouses, water, and recycling.
Also in Berlin, ILS took advantage of the “Long Night of Science” (2 July 2022) to organise a public lecture: “Food production on roofs, facades and in old factories”, and an exhibition about the FoodE project, especially the Terrix educational tools created in the frame of the KidScience activities.
On the “Long Night of Science 2022”, more than 60 scientific and science-related institutions in Berlin and Potsdam opened their doors from 5 PM to midnight. More than 1 400 different programme items provided exclusive insights into the world of science and research. In addition, Kathrin Specht gave a talk on “Food production on roofs, facades and in old factories”, in particular on the potentials and challenges of urban agriculture, and many practical examples. Moreover, Dr. Bernd Pölling (SWUAS) presented and discussed agriculture and food systems in metropolitan areas at the “Agrarforum 2022” of Sparkasse at Unna, near Dortmund. The speech aimed to give an impression of City Region Food Systems in metropolitan areas and the different business models for food production.
6. Tenerife, Spain
From 23 to 26 May 2022, a MyLocalFoodE festival took place in Tenerife organized by FoodE team at ISTUR, the Institute of Social Research and Tourism at Universidad de La Laguna (ULL), with the collaboration of Islatuna (ISL) and Cabildo de Tenerife (the Island Government).
Every year, the world harvests more than 7 million metric tons of tuna and tuna-like species, accounting for about 20% of the value of all marine captured fisheries. The MyLocalFoodE festival in Tenerife aimed to educate ULL students about tuna’s sustainability and health benefits and introduce local fish in University canteens. At the same time, it was intended to demonstrate to canteen managers that the local tuna may be an exciting addition to the menus.
Before the festival, ISTUR, with the collaboration of the Macarofood project, organised a training session about how to cook tuna, with a renowned chef, Juan Carlos Clemente, focused on the University canteens, cooks and managers. In this session, nine recipes based on tuna were shown.
On May 17, the event, “Come del mar, cómete el Mundo” (“Eat from the sea, eat the world”) was announced by Javier Parrilla, Director of Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of the Island Government, Juan Albino Méndez Vicepresident and other representatives of ULL.
Then, during five days, menus based on tuna were delivered free of charge to 800 students and staff, in seven different canteens at ULL.
7. Bologna, Italy
From 10 to 14 January 2023, University of Bologna organised MyLocalFoodE festival in Bologna, Italy. For several days, many scientific and cultural events focused on sustainable food production systems, greenery, and urban gardens were organised in Bologna’s beautiful historical buildings and green urban areas. The festival offered visitors photo exhibitions, panel discussions, workshops and much more.
The festival involved children, students, families, and the elderly in the various activities organised in different spots of Bologna, such as the Greenhouses of the Gardens of Margherita, Salus Space, a modern multifunctional space for collaborative living and social gardening, and the University of Bologna’s experimental Vertical Farm (AlmaVFarm).
During the MyLocalFoodE festival, the exhibition “Proiezioni ORTOgonali” [Orthogonal Projections] took place in the Sala della Manica Lunga of the historical Palazzo d’Accursio. As part of this multidisciplinary exhibition, video and photography shows, a selection of historical maps showing the location of Bologna’s urban gardens, an audio performance of natural sounds, and an exhibition of medicinal vegetable species were organised. The purpose of Proiezioni ORTOgonali was to help citizens reflect on the importance of urban gardens, bringing to light their key role in protecting urban ecosystems, and their social, educational, and therapeutic functions, without omitting their cultural and historical features.
The festival was a success in terms of participation and engagement, showing the interest of the citizens of Bologna in the great beauty of their urban gardens. As urban food systems will be increasingly important in the future of cities worldwide, FoodE and its partners will continue to organise events across Europe to spread the word about the environmental and social benefits which they can bring to our society.