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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Projects | IRI THESys | News | The Edible City Network's International Action

The Edible City Network's International Action

From the eastern corner of Berlin to the north of Tunisia, the Edible City Network is connecting and strengthening sustainable urban garden initiatives across the globe.

‘Urban gardening’ is a worldwide trend, steadily growing popularity in cities like Rotterdam and Montevideo. Yet in Berlin, neighbourhood groups often have difficulty turning urban gardens into sustainable, long-lasting initiatives. Dr. Ina Säumel, leader of IRI THESys Research Group Multifunctional Landscapes, wants this change. 
With the Edible Cities Network Project, Säumel and her colleagues research the impacts of urban gardens – finding that so-called ‘Edible Cities’ can provide diverse multifunctional benefits such as regionally produced food, reduced transport costs, strengthened communities and even help prevent mental illness.   

Hellersdorf 3

The project uses real-world test-sites known as Living Labs, to closely study the effects of various forms of urban gardening. One of these Living Labs is located in a pre-existing manor garden in the eastern district of Hellersdorf in Berlin.

The Living Lab held their kick-off meeting in June, where municipal administrators, gardeners, project coordinators and business owners from Hellersdorf met to exchange ideas and discuss goals of the Lab. Then on July 16th, the first co-creation workshop took place where critical group conversations identified current issues and future priorities. For instance, the planned construction of 1200 new apartments directly next to the garden will present an interesting challenge as the Living Lab continues to test different forms of urban gardening over the next 3.5 years.

Meanwhile, half-way across the world in Tunisia, an Edible City Network event took place in the city of Carthage. Organized by the Municipality of Carthage, the event was held to present the project to government officials, members of local initiatives and interested citizens. Among the many distinguished guests, the Minister of the Environment was invited to link the impact of the project to climate change adaptation and sustainable development goals (SDGs). The Minister of Culture was also invited to exchange views and discuss the integration of the project in Carthage.

The Edible Cities Network hopes these and future events will lead to more stakeholders adopting the project and its concepts, and to continue to expand the network of Edible Cities around the world. 

To hear more about the project, tune into Episode 13 of the HU Berlin Science Podcast for conversation between radio journalist Cora Knoblauch and Dr. Ina Säumel.