Urban Farming at Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre 2014: Responsible Consumers are Bringing Sustainable Agriculture to the City

Agricultural pioneers have come up with many creative ways of bringing agriculture to the city by creating rooftop and vertical farming projects in skyscrapers to most efficiently use the limited space available. Whether that means growing some vegetables or herbs on one’s private balcony or in an under-utilized space of a housing block, city inhabitants have found practical ways of growing their own local, zero-kilometer foods. When talking about cities, we are referring to some of the largest in the world: for instance, rooftop gardening in New York City, vertical farms in Singapore, urban farms in Paris and San Francisco or community gardens in Boston.

Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre 2014 gathers several Terra Madre delegates who are involved in interesting urban agriculture projects:

Anthony Fassio (USA): convivium leader of Slow Food New York City, which is managing several urban agriculture projects and activities.

Kathryn Lynch Underwood (USA): co-founder of Slow Food Detroit Central City; who is collaborating with the urban district of Detroit on food and urban agriculture policies.

Faruk Ali and Muzzafer Suna Kafadar (Turkey): representatives of the Terra Madre food community Istanbul Vegetable Growers, a group of activists, including architects, town planners and experts that have united to occupy and save the historic site of the Fatih ancient food gardens from being transformed into public parks. The community offers the alternative of protecting and utilizing the fertile land of the gardens.

Janneke Wolf Van der Heyden (Netherlands): representative of the Terra Madre food community The Hague Sustainable Urban Beekeepers, an association of beekeepers and artists who are working on awareness-raising and educational activities about the fundamental role that bees play within the planet’s natural equilibriums.

Julie Rouan (France): Julie has her own beehives in the city of Paris and is a representative of the Ville Mains Jardins Urban Beekeepers, an association in Paris that has developed a series of sustainable agricultural practices for the urban environment. Their activities include the establishment of an educational apiary in the Saint Louis hospital that volunteers accompanied by gardeners from the hospital grounds tend to.

Pravanjan Mohapatra (India): Pravanjan is engaged in bringing organic food to cities and is very active in the field of urban agriculture. He joins Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre 2014 as a Terra Madre delegate of the food community Orissa Organic Farmers that is represented by the organization Sabuja Mitra, which popularizes urban organic gardening, aims to restore the confidence of city-dwellers in producing their own food, and provides children with knowledge about how food is produced. The key activity of the organization is setting up organic vegetable gardens in urban settings, from backyards to terraces of urban houses.

One of the international initiatives that looks to open up the debate on a global level, with the eventual aim of raising awareness and changing consumption and production habits in the city, is Eating City. Eating City attempts to answer many important questions: How do we (re-)connect the city with the countryside? How can we reclaim lost flavors? How should we educate people about traditions and gastronomic culture?

Projects like Eating City play a starring role in this new vision, helping citizens and decision makers gain more awareness and knowledge about agriculture. This is why different ways of this new kind of agriculture and the project Eating City, are at the center of two conferences at the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre event in Turin, Italy:

Eating City: A Different Idea of a City (Thursday, October 23)

The Eating City project promotes a form of urban agriculture that can also be a system of economic and social development. The conference is chaired by Andrea Pezzana, director of dietetics and clinical nutrition at San Giovanni Bosco hospital, and the speakers are: Maurizio Mariani, president of Risteco; Mariachiara Giorda, University of Torino; Chang Tianle, organizer of Peking Farmer’s Market; Robin Gourlay, Food and Drink Industry Division of the Scottish Government.

Urban Agriculture (Monday, October 27)

Supplying parts of a city’s food requirements while using local food and allowing urban populations to produce their own food: this ideal can become possible if urban agriculture is able to shed the stigma of an economically insignificant hobby and be recognized as an economically, environmentally and socially stimulating activity. Rooftops, windowsills, balconies and gardens, in addition to public spaces, can all become places for this new kind of agriculture.

Why is Urban Agriculture important?

Over three and a half billion people, more than half the world’s population, now live in cities. With this accelerating growth of urban areas expected to continue, experts anticipate that by 2030, almost 70% of the world’s population will live in cities. As cities grow, many rural areas are declining and the world is witnessing a decline in the number of farmers, in particular the number of young farmers. One cannot ignore these changing demographics that influence the supply and quality of food in cities and, most importantly, define the future of the whole planet.

Another key implication of the ongoing demographic changes is the growing gap between countryside inhabitants and city-dwellers and a disconnection between consumers and producers, people and food. City-dwellers are eating, but many have little or no idea of where their food comes from or how it reaches the dining table. With connections to food becoming ever more fleeting, it is often difficult to judge food on its quality and sustainability.

A positive development in regard is that there are now many projects working across the globe to reconnect people in cities to agriculture and food. More and more people are starting to understand the challenging social and environmental implications of these demographic changes, especially in regard to sustainable food supply in a city. Many responsible consumers and/or organizations are thus taking action through individual or collective urban agriculture initiatives.

To apply for accreditation for SDG/TM 2014, please visit the following website: http://www.salonedelgusto.com/press/pre-accreditation/

For further information, please contact:

℅ Slow Food Paola Nano, +39 329 8321285 [email protected]

c/o Regione Piemonte: Tel. +39 011 4322549 [email protected]

c/o Comune di Torino: Tel. +39 011 4423605 [email protected]

Organized by Slow Food, the region of Piedmont and the city of Turin in collaboration with the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, the international Salone del Gusto event is coming back to Turin, Italy, this year in its 10th edition. Dedicated to the world of food, Salone del Gusto is once more united into a single event with the international meeting of Terra Madre, the network of small-scale producers from around the world, which is now in its 10th year. Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre 2014 will be held from October 23-27 in Turin’s trade fair Centre Lingotto Fiere and see the presence of over 1000 exhibitors from 130 countries

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