URBFARM News Article

The URBFARM Project aims to raise awareness among citizens and empower them to initiate small-scale urban farming initiatives using vertical/indoor farming technologies and strategies. Such initiatives can be set up, for example, on balconies, rooftops, small gardens, and public places. Urban farming can generate income and create new job opportunities for low-skilled citizens. 

This is a European Partnership with a mission to build an education programme for adults to learn “Urban Farming and Entrepreneurship Skills.” It will be available in English, German, Greek and Italian. The course will be freely available online through the EdX platform with a wide variety of learning resources focusing on vertical farming, organic farming and the development of entrepreneurial skills related to this sector. 

 

Why Urban Farming? 

Air pollution is considered to be the most serious environmental health problem in Europe, especially as our urban population it is expected to double between 2018 and 2050 and the majority of Europeans live in tightly packed apartment buildings. Increased urbanisation contributes to climate change, not only from greenhouse gas emissions, but also from urban warming and extreme heat due to increased energy consumption.  

More than 400,000 Europeans die prematurely each year and another 6.5 million citizens in urban areas suffer the consequences of air pollution. There is an urgent need to foster green skills in urban communities and enable civilians to develop greener and more resilient communities and cities for the future. 

Additionally, the environmental impact of traditional agricultural practises is becoming an increasingly pressing issue especially as the link to global climate change is beginning to be appreciated. For this there cannot be urban farming without the use of organic farming practises, that can have a huge benefit in soil carbon sequestration and reduction of the climate change consequences, such as soil erosion and carbon in the atmosphere. Soil restoration in urban cities can go beyond organic farming, where soil and brownfields remediation (unused urban land) along with sustainable land management can become essential for reversing the trend of soil degradation. 

Urban farming practises are much more self-contained and not so directly linked to the rest of the natural world system. They are also an opportunity to grow food in the same location it is to be sold, placing the consumer closer to the source, and reducing the environmental and economic costs of transport. For some countries, the immediate impact of urban farming in the form of vertical green walls or green roofs is a powerful nature-based solution (NBS) to increase environmental resilience in cities. The benefits of green roofs and sustainable buildings are reduced energy costs from due to cooling (or else known as evapotraspiration) effects and offer energy performance improvements in addition to the use of renewable energy sources – solar panels and wind turbinesIn fact, examples of green roof technologies worldwide are becoming a reality with research evidence showing that combination of green roofs with greenery at pedestrian level, can result in ambient temperature microclimate decline by 2oC.  

We are also facing a paradox in the 21st Century: despite living in closer proximity to each other with greater interconnectedness thanks to technology, many of us feel lonelier and more disconnected. Urban farming brings people in urban areas closer to nature, bridges the gap between food producers and consumers, and fosters community spirit. Urban farming empowers anyone with the right know-how, especially those living in urban areas, to grow and sell their own food all year round to the local community even if they only have a small amount of available spaceThe health benefits associated with urban agriculture are increased access to healthy food, increased vegetable, and fruit consumption, increased physical activity, improved mental health and mental illness and finally improved quality of life and general wellbeing.  

The URBFARM Project will provide the know-how and show people how to generate an income with urban farming and create new employment opportunities for low-skilled workers while remaining aligned with goals to create more sustainable, greener urban communities. 

What are you waiting for? Register for our course to gain new green skills and improve your well-being.   

 

Meet Our Partners! 

We are a consortium of 6 European partner organisations funded by Erasmus+.