Our living labs
Introduction to Living Labs 2021 & 2022
The Living Labs are part of a community learning model that brings the groups of actors in a community together, to form their landscape. The methods and tools learned in the Online Seminar will be able to be explored and tested in the Living Labs, by the group of students who are local to that community. Each partner university has created its own Living Lab and itinerary for lab meetings, which will run parallel with the Online Seminar. Some of the engagements with the Living Labs include -
Participatory Action Research - sessions including PAR will involve active methods for engaging the community in the lab and in the landscape, in order to gather data about their space.
CoDesign - students will work together with the community, bringing stakeholders in on key points of the design process, to increase the functionality and sustainability of the design.
Community Feedback - methods can be tested for gaining insightful critique from stakeholders, to understand the effectiveness of the design.
Madrid Living Lab
Barrios Productores Madrid. "Gardening food justice" Finding nexus between urban farming & right to food
Location In Madrid periphericlal neighbourhoods, in empty or misused plots that are part of the municipal Program Barrios Productores. The ‘Producer Districts’ project has more than 250 plots available, most of them located in the city's peripheral districts, with a wide diversity of urban landscapes. This competition proposes five sites with different typologies and sizes, which can serve as examples for analysis. We focus on those assigned for development in 2022-2023.
UNSDGs engaged in the Lab are: SDG2, SDG4, SDG8, SDG12
Local landscape challenges The combination of public urban voids together with the demand from agroecological social movement to provide resources to solidarity pantries (connected to a kind of community kitchen project).
Character of the lab The Barrios Productores (Producer Districts) project goal is to recover and regenerate urban voids in empty or misused plots through a strengthened dialogue between city and nature. It will integrate food production with the urban fabric. Urban gardens are designed with a complex program of uses capable of answering all the dimensions that the program seeks to embrace: social gathering, educational purposes, experimental ones, short-circuit food production, participating in the enhancement of environmental conditions and biodiversity, recycling, and efficient water use, reduction of the so-called “heat island” effect, the use and production of renewable energy, etc., without missing its landscape component, helping the social validation of the inhabited surroundings and actually producing new ecosystems, half-way between nature and culture. At the same time, the social movement "Madrid agroecologico" works together with self-managed solidarity pantries in emancipatory responses to food emergency. They request access to public resources and facilities to the processing of food surplus from periurban agroecological farms.
Sources: https://estrategiaurbana.madrid.es/barrios-productores/ https://www.europan-europe.eu/en/session/europan-16/site/madrid-es https://madridagroecologico.org/despensas-solidarias-y-agroecologia-embotar-para-generar-nuevas-logicas/
Ghent Living Lab
UGENT - FUTURE URBAN HERITAGE FOR AGROECOLOGICAL FARMING IN PERI-URBAN GHENT in collaboration with De Stadsacademie
The urban food policy of the City of Ghent, Gent en Garde, has been the subject of international attention including several prestigious prizes. At the same time, the systematic sale of public farmland in the peri-urban fringe of Ghent has alienated new and traditional farmers who are upset about the systematic loss of farmland. Farmers are rapidly disappearing from the peri-urban fringe, and new farmers face great difficulty to establish themselves.
Within the context of De Stadsacademie civil society actors, farmers, urban civil servants, students, and researchers have been engaged in the development of alternative policies regarding public-owned farmland, and public agricultural patrimony in general. In this context, we will host a number of workshops to explore the strategic potential of this public farmland for the development of future-oriented urban geography of agroecological farming. We will try to imagine new forms of urban infrastructure and future heritage that contribute to the local support of agroecological farmers and reinscribe the farming activities within new urban geography of farming. De Stadsacademie is a collaboratorium dedicated to transdisciplinary research and teaching on complex and urgent sustainability challenges faced by the city and the University of Ghent. De Stadsacademie works on several ‘trajectories’ that define the thematic scope of its work over a number of years.
Warsaw Living Lab
Food Loop Warsaw Living Lab Food Loop - circular economy in cities: Circular Economy Food System in cities - a sustainable project for the SGGW campus and Hoe and the Sun Community Garden.
The aim of the project is to develop a Circular Economy Food System project for the SGGW campus. The research will cover selected units on campus that are sources of food waste (e.g. canteens, dormitories). The overall scope of activities will include: • a review of the current state of the art on food system design and Circular Economy, taking into account the local context, public and expert consultations involving different stakeholders; • analysis of the present SGGW campus food system (food supply, food processing and consumption, food waste management); • design of Circular Economy Food System for the SGGW campus; • design of Circular Economy Food System for the Hoe and the Sun Community Garden. The project will have a pilot character - it will concern selected units on campus and the developed research and design model can then be used for other units on campus and in the future for other campuses, community gardens and institutions in Warsaw.
The Living Lab will consist of III phases: I. Open workshops in the Hoe and the Sun Community Garden (center of Warsaw):
• sustainable urban food: o lecture on urban agriculture; o meeting with gardeners and presentation of the Hoe and the Sun Community Garden; o open-air exhibition on community gardens in Poland (ready); o workshop on permaculture and composting; o meeting with members of the Warsaw Food Co-operatives and Community Supported Agriculture; o lecture on food system analysis and assessment.
• Circular Economy: o lecture on the MENDELU campus, demonstration of the Big Hanna food waste composting device, Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic.
I. Open research and design workshops at SGGW: • analysis of the current food system on the SGGW campus (food supply, food processing and consumption as well as food waste management); • design of the Circular Economy Food System project for the SGGW campus; • open-air exhibition on community gardens in Poland (ready); • establishment of a community garden on campus (community garden workshops); • composting workshops - involvement of a group of students in composting (distribution of household waste bins, construction of composters) • open-air presentation of food wastes utilization from home kitchen or food establishments.
I. Dissemination, venue: Hoe and the Sun Community Garden • open presentation of the project and debate (inhabitants of Warsaw, student and academic community, university and municipal authorities). • A short video showing the course and the results of the entire process (max. 8 minutes) • Fb/instagram for LLabs • Research paper / Report (available online)
Partners / participants? • students and academic community; • garden community; • Warsaw Food Co-operatives and Community Supported Agriculture; • Otwarty Jazdów community, inhabitants of Warsaw; • university authorities; • university administration (campus land manager); • municipal authorities. • waste hauling company.
Montpellier Living Lab
"Bridging the gap between food science disciplines and supporting different stakeholders to deliver more sustainable food systems" The UNESCO Chair in World Food Systems was founded in 2011 by Professor Jean-Louis Rastoin (Montpellier SupAgro) with a multidisciplinary group of teachers and researchers from various institutions of the Agropolis campus (Montpellier, France). It was accredited by UNESCO for a first 4-year cycle, and again in 2015 and 2019.
The Chair has consolidated a number of core commitments through its activities over the years: • Food is a major issue for societies and represents a vital link between humans and the environment. It is an essential component of human health and that of the planet, of their wellbeing and that of other living organisms, of social bonds and cultural identity building. Food is concurrently an economic, social, political and artistic activity. • Embedding societal issues in training and research is necessary to boost the relevance of these activities. • Scientific disciplines should interact and converse with other forms of knowledge (professional, artistic, etc.) and with citizens—thereby overcoming barriers to knowledge. Enhancing the science-society dialogue
The Chair currently organizes science-society interactions on sustainable food through three types of activities : • Training: the Innovations and Policies for Sustainable Food (IPAD) Advanced Master’s Programme and various training modules, MOOCs, etc. • Action research: sustainable urban food systems; solidarity to overcome food insecurity. • Opening doors to and disseminating knowledge: publications, conferences.
Creating opportunities for a holistic approach to food Food is studied through ever more specialized scientific disciplines: nutrition, food science, process engineering, economics, social sciences, etc. As these disciplines continue to fine-tune their lenses, the risk is that each of them will lose track of the diverse range of issues surrounding food. Similarly, these issues, although rooted in the sustainable food theme, are often dealt with in a relatively siloed manner, while prioritizing environmental, nutritional, social, economic or governance views.
The Chair is thus a space where a holistic vision of food prevails, in contrast to a meta-disciplinary approach where all viewpoints and issues are streamlined. A holistic stance is a way of stepping back from overly specialized approaches, thereby giving new meaning to knowledge while reconciling science and society. Linking solidarity and environmental issues within food systems
The COVID-19 crisis is likely to herald the emergence of serious environmental and health crises linked to climate change, chemical pollution, biodiversity meltdown and resource depletion. Averting the social exclusion of disadvantaged people seems ever more crucial in this setting, especially as this issue is often overlooked or underestimated in sustainability initiatives.
The Chair is consequently focusing on these issues of food solidarity with regard to social insecurity, both in terms of providing universal access to sustainable food and improving food system working conditions. It seeks to bridge the divide between these socioeconomic aspects and the environmental, health and governance dimensions. To this end, the Chair is testing multidisciplinary research procedures jointly developed and piloted with food system stakeholders.
Dovetailing innovation and policy Novel and more sustainable food systems are being built, driven by social, community and business innovators. It is vital to identify, support and assess them, but more is needed to accelerate the transition. The Chair contends that ambitious public policies are also needed. It is hence necessary to reconfigure the power relations that influence them in favour of actors with genuine social and environmental commitments. The Chair supports these catalysts of change (professionals, politicians, civil society platforms, local authorities, etc.) by producing reference resources and providing training.