The Solidarity Foundation of the University of Barcelona is one of the partner entities of the EdiCitNet – Edible Cities Network research project (2018-2023). This project is an initiative with 35 partners (NGOs, SME, city authorities, academia) in 13 cities of the world (Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Berlin, Heidelberg, Andernach, Rotterdam, Oslo, Letchworth, Šempeter pri Gorici, Carthage, Lomé, Havana, Montevideo and Wenquan) that is financed by the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Union.
The project’s final goal is the implementation and evaluation of nature-based solutions in the framework of strategic urban plans designed for the transition to social resilient and sustainably productive cities.
The initiative aims to demonstrate that the implementation of non-ornamental green infrastructures in the city not only increases the sustainable production of food, but also facilitates the regeneration of urban spaces, enhances the green economy, and promotes social cohesion through the creation of jobs and the integration of the most vulnerable sectors of the population.
The fact that the project has partners in 13 cities of different continents allows it to study the functioning of “Edible City Solutions” in very diverse environments and ensures its dissemination throughout.
Specifically, the UB Solidarity Foundation:
- provides technical advice to the City Council of Sant Feliu de Llobregat for the development of a strategic urban plan that integrates projects of social urban agriculture for the extension of the orchard areas, the improvement in the management and recovery of water for irrigation, the implementation of more innovative solutions (living roofs, vertical gardens…), the involvement of different groups (people with other abilities, unaccompanied minors, refugees, long-term unemployed) and the creation of microenterprises
- has established a collaboration with the Catalan Water Research Institute (ICRA) for the creation of natural solutions that facilitate urban planning for sustainable development.
Regarding the background, the UB Solidarity Foundation has a long history in promoting the social-labour insertion of people at risk of exclusion from the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona through social agriculture. For example, a pilot plan with Sant Feliu de Llobregat City Council intended to long-term unemployed; a social agriculture programme with Santa Coloma de Gramenet City Council aimed at unemployed people, retirees and citizen organizations that work with vulnerable groups; and, still active, the pre-work course “Technician in maintenance of urban orchards, centers of composting and gardening” (Green ASSÍS), of 250 hours, promoted with the Centre d’Acollida ASSÍS and primarily addressed to homeless people.
The EdiCitNet project contributes, in particular, to goal 4 of SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), which aims, by 2030, to ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices. At the same time, the project relates to goal 3 of SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), which aims to enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management. And, finally, in accordance with its desire to promote the creation of jobs and the integration of the most vulnerable sectors of the population, the project is also aligned with goal 5 of SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), which seeks to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men.