Third Newsletter March 2016

1) Colloque Agriculture Urbaine, where urban agriculture is opened to other sectors
On March 17, in Nantes, professionals and researchers from different sectors will meet to discuss Urban Agriculture

On March 17, in Nantes, the event "Colloque Agriculture Urbaine" will take place at the Nantes School of Architecture, organized by Vegepolys, one of the major players in the Urban Agriculture sector and partner of the Urban Green Train project.
The event is unique in its kind, because it aims to make the potential of urban agriculture known to professionals who apparently are not involved at this time, but could actively contribute, and at the same time, benefit from the development of this particular new sector.
Therefore, it is not only aimed at agricultural experts, but also at professionals in the architecture, construction, and urban planning fields which can contribute, with new solutions and original points of view, to the development of urban agriculture.
Through constructive dialogue between the different participants and through their relative visions, the forefront of discussion will be a comparison of urban agriculture addressing significant experiences, international development models, specific demands and issues of the sector, applicable strategies and innovations, required professional skills and training needs. On the other hand, the session dedicated to "city stakeholders", will address topics relative to opportunity, regulatory constraints and the keys to success that characterize "urban agriculture-urban development planning".
A rich and stimulating event, aimed at professionals, members of the Vegepolys circuit and researchers. To view the detailed program, costs and to register click on this link.

2) RotterZwam: food for the city grows from city waste
The Rotterdam case study, where urban agriculture is inspired by the Blue Economy

RotterZwam is a truly unique urban agriculture project. Created in 2013 in Rotterdam, it is the brainchild of Siemen Cox, a finance professional, and Mark Slegers, an eco-business corporate consultant.
The two, inspired by the principles of Blue Economy, have taken on a bold challenge: to find food supply solutions for the city by reusing waste generated by the city itself.
What waste is abundantly available locally? Where is it possible to obtain food? The answer seemed obvious: coffee grounds, the basis for a good growing medium that is produced in large quantities every day (lets not forget that it is waste originating from the most consumed beverage in the world, second only to water!). An annual production of approximately 120 million kg of coffee grounds is estimated just in the Netherlands.
Although impressive, this is certainly not the most surprising fact. What is surprising is the fact that only 0.2% of coffee in powder ends up in the cup, the rest is discarded. This is a real shame! The very reason why Siemen and Mark have become urban farmers. From these still valuable coffee grounds, they started to grow and sell delicious mushrooms; now highly sought after by city restaurants.
However, they did not stop there. Today anyone can be like them. By using a special kit, the "RotterZwam Growkit" which may be purchased from various distributors in the Netherlands, anyone can transform their kitchen coffee grounds waste into small homegrown mushroom farms.
RotterZwam is undoubtedly an exceptional and creative example of urban agriculture, particularly devoted to sustainability and reuse.
For more information on this initiative, we recommend reading their in-depth study and watching the special video (subtitled in English).

3) Do you want a career in urban agriculture? Here are the skills that you must have
A survey by Urban Green Train highlights personal skills and technical skills crucial to succeed in the urban agriculture world.

One of the Urban Green Train project contributions to the urban development of agriculture lies in optimizing the relative educational opportunities. For this reason, part of the preliminary work has been aimed at defining life skills and technical skills required to operate successfully in the field of urban agriculture.
The analysis performed was based on a questionnaire targeting a group of 122 members, all relevant to the sector, divided between representatives of SMEs, Universities and other higher education institutions, NGOs, and Public Administrations from France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. A rather large and diversified pool that has highlighted aspects that in some ways, are even peculiar.
Would you believe, for example, that among the most desirable personal skills (soft skills) for those wanting to make urban agriculture their work, communication skills (70%), creativity (64%) and ability to work in a group (58%) are at the top?
Those who possess these qualities are already well on their way and only need to deal with skills and technical knowledge (hard skills), which may be learned. What hard skills are the most requested? In-depth knowledge of agricultural production systems, such as plant production (70%), and techniques that are the basis of “communication, networking and PR" (68%).
If you would like to explore this topic and discover the other results of the Urban Green Train project, download the "First Intellectual Output" from this link .