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EdiCitNet Monthly Update

Dear EdiCitNet friends,

A lot has happened since our last newsletter was out. Here is a selection of the most interesting news, events and everything else related to the Edible City! 

Edible City Solutions Summer School 

After the IRI THESys Edible City Solutions Summer School was cancelled in 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic in Berlin, in 2021 the schedule was re-designed to work in a purely digital format – with online lectures and virtual group work. From September 20 to October 1, the EdiCitNet Project team embarked on a two-week learning journey with 30 participants from Asia, Africa, Europe, South and North America, exploring sustainable urban food systems with many talented experts from among the EdiCitNet project partners – including the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, Prinzessinnengärten Kollektiv, Association la Recherche en Action, Transition Oststeiermark, the City of Andernach and Bundesverband Gebäudegrün e. V. – BuGG.

The summer school opened with a public webinar entitled “Urban Transformation: Building City Resilience with Edible City Solutions”, led by Dr Ina Säumel, Suhana Reddy and Thomas Wachtel from the EdiCitNet Project. Then the participants were introduced to their challenge for the next two weeks – to develop their very own Edible City Solution, designed to tackle specific urban challenges in a city of their choice.

Throughout the two weeks, the participants were introduced to the four pillars of Edible City Solutions – social, economic, ecological and political – via input sessions with experts from the field. In between the sessions, they worked collectively on their group projects, across time zones and borders, using Miro, Slack, Zoom, Moodle and other online tools. At the halfway point, the Berlin participants of the Edible City Solutions Summer School got the chance to meet offline as they went on a “Harvest Your City” foraging tour through the city with project partner Mundraub. At the end of each week, in an interactive “Reality Check” session, the groups pitched their creative Edible City concepts to the expert panel and received practical feedback on the feasibility and potential impact of their concepts.

The participants developed an incredibly diverse and creative range of Edible City Solutions: a citizens’ cooperative turning rice straw residue into biochar in Valencia (Spain), the development of policies and guidelines to support the integration of edible landscapes into the outskirts of Girona (Spain), an edible garden initiative for social housing in Vienna (Austria), the installation of a rooftop farm in an abandoned carpark in Berlin (Germany) and a strategy to strengthen a farm-to-fork initiative in Jeonju (South Korea), through the introduction of permaculture practices.

When we asked the participants if they enjoyed the summer school we got some great responses:

“I loved the structure the summer school set for our conceptual approaches. It seemed so clever to start at one point, consider the 4 pillars separately but bring them all together as one in the end.”

“It was fantastic! Great choice of lectures and speakers to teach on the 4 pillars each lesson”

“I enjoyed these days a lot, thank you! I hope that from here new real edible projects emerge and we can continue sharing knowledge.”

And what did they learn?

 “Inspiration comes when different countries and backgrounds work together.” 

“The value of transdisciplinarity!” 

 “Learners from all over the world can cooperate and come up with amazing ideas!” 

We thank all of the participants and all of the experts who took part, for their dedication and motivation throughout these two inspiring weeks!

EdiCitNet Toolbox workshop 

During the EdiCitNet Annual Meeting 2021, ICRA and UL teams offered an interactive workshop, titled "Hands-on experience with the EdiCitNet Toolbox: create, design and explore your Edible City Solution profile", in order to explore the multiple facets of the EdiCitNet Toolbox. The aim of the workshop was for consortium partners to get to know the Toolbox better, showcase how it can be useful through its features/tools, promote inclusive/participative testing to enhance it and thus foster its use during and beyond the project. First, we performed an interactive demonstration in which participants created profiles for their initiatives and then played with the tools (assessment, design and planning). Next, we had an interactive feedback session. We made three statements in which participants could strongly agree (score 5) and strongly disagree (score 1). Participants strongly agreed that it is easy to create a profile for initiatives in the toolbox online interface (average score 4.3), that the performance tool is useful to explore and compare different initiatives in terms of sustainability urban challenges and ecosystem services (Average score 4) and that the design and planning tool can help people create their own Edible City Solution (Average score 3.7). We also asked participants to provide words to define how they perceive the Toolbox. Some of the words were innovative, full of possibilities, informative, modern, interactive, useful, helpful, interesting and easy. These results showed that the Toolbox is becoming more and more user friendly and useful, according to the participants' perception of the workshop. Finally, we asked participants what would they like to see in the toolbox and how can we improve what we already have. We are currently working on the received suggestions, which are mainly concerning technical aspects of the tools (e.g. link to other existing databases as for example FAO climate database).

Tailor-made workshops for ECS initiatives in Oslo

Nabolagshager and the Agency for Urban Environment in Oslo, in collaboration with Wageningen University, Humbolt University and the Borderstep Institute in Berlin, invited ECS initiatives from Oslo to a series of three, free workshops to help ECS initiatives to further develop their financial sustainability models for their urban food production business. These interactive workshops provide ECS initiatives with tools, resources, and networking that we are confident will strengthen their organisations or projects. Through three in-person workshops, held at Linderud farm in Oslo (where the living lab is established), we will provide professional training on relevant topics to successfully grow and improve their business.

The first workshop was held on the 30th of September. During the workshop “Identifying and communicating your value”, we looked at how we can align our own personal values and goals with those of our ECS initiative or project, and how to communicate the value of our work to the external world. A special thanks goes to Alice Bischof from Wageningen University, who came to Oslo to help participants identify the value of their organisations using the “Business Model Diamond” tool.

The second workshop was held on the 21st of October. During this workshop "Enhancing customer relations and strategic partnerships", we focused on how ECS initiatives can utilise the value of their organisations to better connect with customers and form strategic partnerships. We looked at how to find new customers, better connect with customers via social media, and how to create mutually beneficial partnerships - both private and public. A special thanks goes to Helene Gallis from Nabolagshager for holding a great presentation about how to get media coverage to promote our ECS initiave and all your tips to write good press releases and social media posts. 

We look forward very much to meeting again all the ECS initiatives at our last workshop on the the 11th of November. In this final workshop "Focusing activities and resources for financial sustainability", we will look at how to best utilise your time and resources to move towards better financial sustainability. We will work through some of the challenges of determining how you should price your goods and services in relation to the time needed to produce them, how to take advantage of public and private funding schemes to obtain capital.

EdiCitNet Toolbox: 85 profiles for Edible City Solutions

In the past months, ICRA and BOKU have been working together to transform the information of Deliverable 4.3. (“Documentation of ECSs in FCs”) into Edible City Solutions (ECS) profiles in the EdiCitNet Toolbox. This type of collaboration is very relevant to ensure the long-term impact of the EdiCitNet project, since it ensures that the data collected during the execution of the project is properly stored in the EdiCitNet database and publicly available in a user-friendly format.

As a result of this fruitful collaboration, 85 profiles of Edible City Solutions from Berlin (35), Carthage (16), Montevideo (16), Sant Feliu de Llobregat (11), Šempeter pri Gorici (6) and Lome (1), are publicly available in the EdiCitNet Toolbox.

Now, ICRA and BOKU are working on a strategy to transfer the management and editing rights of these profiles to the owners/coordinators of the Edible City Solutions.

By having the ownership, they will be able to:

  • Interact with other existing initiatives by leaving and receiving comments and questions thought the profiles, think of it as a social media outlet for urban food initiatives.
  • Edit the profile or even delete it.
  • Soon they will also be able to share events and news related to their ECS profile with the community.
Apple crumble made with city-foraged apples

Watch this video of how a couple uses EdiCitNet's partner Mundraub's map in order to collect 15kg of apples and use them to make a delicious apple crumble which they later give away to people. A wonderful idea!

The Edible City - a recipe for success?

On November 3rd, EdiCitNet members Dr. Ina Säumel and Johannes Mader participated in this seminar on the Multifunctional use of green spaces, organized by the IKzB. Mr. Mader gave the participants a practical insight into the “Edible City” concept and how it is being implemented in the city of Andernach. Dr. Säumel presented the EdiCitNet project and how it tests innovative measures for the edible city of the future under real conditions in order to then transfer them to other cities.

The EdiCitNet Showcase in Berlin welcomed new plants

The EdiCitNet team in Berlin planted some chard and strawberry plants in the glasshouse showcase at Friedrichstraße. This major street will remain closed to motor vehicles at least until the end of 2022, offering a great opportunity to show passersby how the Edible City of the future could look like. Since December last year, the tiny glasshouse has already been home to numerous edible plant species, such as dinosaur kale, spinach, basil, chili peppers and mint. 

World Cities Day Hashtag Campaign 

In honour of World Cities Day on October 31st, the EdiCitNet Project organized a hashtag campaign to raise awareness of the positive impacts of urban food system innovation - in particular edible Nature-Based Solutions. The campaigned, which will be ongoing until November 12th, was joined by sister projects NetworkNature, CLEVER Cities, CLEARING HOUSE, UNaLab, proGIreg and IN-HABIT. You can also join it by posting your own edible Nature-Based Solutions and using #EdibleCitySolutions.

EdiCitNet Refresher

This month's featured term is: 

Follower Cities (FC): 
Cities that replicate ECS for the benefit of their inhabitants. They study and monitor implementation in diverse environments, ensuring global outreach with city partners based in different continents. 

You can also check the publicly available glossary on our webpage. 

Invitation to participate

Recipes for Resilience (November 1st-12th)
Nourish Scotland and partners organize this 12-day event dedicated to food and climate during COP26. The event will highlight the importance of food systems within climate conversation through a dynamic variety of panels, screenings, hands-on events and community engagement. The Beacon Cafe onsite will serve a variety of local, sustainable dishes reflecting the diverse and delicious food of Scotland. Find the programme  and sign up links here

Berry bushes planting event (November 13th)
For those in Berlin, the Grüne Liga, will be offering this offline event where participants will have the chance to plant berry bushes and learn how to take care of them from Ines Fischer, an expert on urban greenery. The event, which will be held in German, will finish with some snacks and the projection of short films about gardening. You can sign up free of cost by sending an email to 
urbanegaerten@grueneliga-berlin.de.

BiodivERsA and Biodiversa+ (November 16th-18th)
The BiodivERsA final conference (16-17 November) will be an opportunity to go over the BiodivERsA main achievements and BiodivERsA model. The Official Launch event of Biodiversa+ (the European Biodiversity Partnership) (17-18 November) will allow to learn more about this new European Partnership on Biodiversity, get more familiar with the opportunities to get involved with Biodiversa+ and learn more about its Strategic Research and Innovation Action. This is a hybrid event, but onsite participation is possible only with invitation. You can sign up for the digital format here.

Symposium "Kommunen schaffen Vielfalt" (November 18th)
This symposium, whose title translates to "Municipalities create diversity", showcases examples from municipal practice for the promotion of urban nature and insects. You can expect lectures as well as interactive workshops on the topics of "Mobilizing new actors", "Public green - diverse, species-rich, lively" and "Gardens as hotspots of biodiversity" as well as a concluding panel discussion. Please note that the event will be in German. To find out more and register, please click here
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The EdiCitNet project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 776665

Copyright © EdiCitNet 2021, All rights reserved.

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