Edible Cities Network Conference 2022

Edible Cities Network Conference 2022

At a time when community and connection is more important than ever, the Edible Cities Network brought people from around the world together for two days of discussion, exchange and inspiration on urban food innovation, edible nature based solutions & sustainable cities. 

Here you can find:

  • recordings of the different sessions
  • presentations from our experts
  • Q&A from every session

Missed the Edible Cities Network conference and want to join the next one? Click here to sign up for the newsletter and we’ll let you know as soon as registration is open for next year.

More bookmarks

Keynote Session - "The Power of Small Actions" and "Sociotrophic Territories"

Keynote Session

Moderator: Ina Säumel, Humboldt University Berlin (DE)

Ina Säumel leads the research group on Multifunctional Landscapes at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. She conducts and supervises research on urban and landscape ecology and land-use change with a special focus on developing concepts for multifunctional, biodiversity-friendly and healthy landscapes.

Keynote Speakers:

Mary Clear, Incredible Edible (UK)

Presentation: "The Power of Small Actions"Keynote: The Power of Small Actions (Mary Clear (Incredible Edible Todmorden))

Mary is chairperson of Incredible Edible Todmorden and co-founder of an idea that has been rooted across the world. Incredible Edible seeks to make a kinder world; using food and growing as the lever. They have achieved more than anyone reckoned was possible, by having oodles of passion and a sense of fun. They have no offices, paid workers or worries; they use the gifts and energy of the community. Kindness is their currency.

Jörg Niewöhner, Humboldt University Berlin (DE)

Presentation: "Sociotrophic Territories: collaborating across communities of practice" Keynote: Sociotrophic Territories - Collaborating Across Communities of Practice (Jörg Niewöhner, Humboldt University Berlin)

Jörg Niewöhner holds a PhD in environmental sciences. In 2004, he joined the Institute of European Ethnology at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and now holds a chair in Social Anthropology of Human-Environment Relations. He conducts ethnographic research at the intersection of science and technology studies, social anthropology and environmental sciences.


Q&A (questions answered in the chat during the session)

Q: Who pays for the food you eat at the community post gardening feasts, Mary?

A: Our organsiation pays . We are self sufficient . We will not apply for grants. We use the money we earn from tours and talks and accept gifts and donations.

Q: Jörg, what are some of the examples in Berlin that are using reflexive governance? (websites?)


CLIWAC: www.cliwac.de

FOOD 4 FUTURE: https://www.food4future.de/de/home

IFTS: https://www.agrar.hu-berlin.de/de/institut/departments/daoe/apol/forschung/projekte

Q: Mary, did you get into any difficulties with the goverment, like regarding rules of archeological spaces? if yes, how did you solve that?

A: We did not have any trouble - not yet!

Session #1 Edible City Solutions - Voices from the Ground

Session #1: Edible Cities Solution: Voices from the ground

Moderator: Sebastian Eiter, Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NO)

Guest speaker:
Martina Artmann, Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (DE)

Presentation: "Getting Back in Touch With the Food We Eat" Keynote: Resonating Human-Food Relations in Cities ‒ Getting in Touch with the Food We Eat (Martina Artmann)  

Martina Artmann has been a researcher at the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER) in Dresden since 2015, leading since 2020 the Leibniz-Junior Research Group ”Urban human-nature resonance for sustainability transformation” (URBNANCE). In her recent studies, Dr. Artmann has been researching edible cities as an approach for linking urban residents with non-human nature and food.


Robert Shaw, Prinzessinnengarten (DE)

Presentation: "Insights from Prinzessinnengarten" Insights from Prinzessinnengarten (Robert Shaw, Prinzessinnengarten Berlin)

Robert is the co-founder of Berlin’s best-known urban gardening project, the Prinzessinnengärten which was founded in an abandoned area of Kreuzberg in 2009. Now he is a member of the Prinzessinnengarten Kollektiv Berlin, recently moving to a new 7.5-hectare location in a city cemetery where the organisation is establishing a new form of community gardening with a café, educational centre and spaces for workshops.

Anneli Karlsson, Andernach Municipality (DE)

Presentation: "Small Bugs - Big Impact" Small bugs - Big impact (Anneli Karlsson, City of Andernach)

Anneli is a soil scientist with a background in pesticide research, and is now part of EdiCitNet as the City Team coordinator and Living Lab coordinator and works in the Department of Environment and Sustainability in the City of Andernach.

Pia Cathrin Kristiansen, Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NO)

Presentation: "Linderud Neighborhood and Community Garden" 

Linderud Neighborhood and Community Garden: What Motivates the Users and What Future Wishes Do They Have? (Pia Kristiansen et al)

Pia is a part-time masters student in public health at The Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). Pia collaborated with Benedicte Susann Nilssen, Thea Nørvåg, Marit Ingeborg Kvernmoen and Julie Bjørgen Myrås also from NMBU in assessing the motivation and wishes for the future of users of the Linderud neighborhood and community garden in Oslo.

Anna Anglí, Sant Feliu de Llobregat Municipality(ES)

Presentation: "Advancing Agroecological Schools" Advancing Agroecological Schools in Sant Feliu de Llobregat (Anna Angli, City of Sant Feliu de Llobregat)

Anna Anglí is a geographer specializing in agroecological promotion and Social Solidarity Economics. She has participated in several agro-ecological cooperative projects, from production and consumption to research. She currently works at the Sant Feliu de Llobregat City Council as an agroecological technician.


Q&A (questions answered live in the chat + others followed up on by our panelists)

Q: Would this type of wide spread and the large variety of concepts not be a great place to research best practises that can be scaled? of course the aspect of consciousness is primarily important in these cases. I would like to know if research is done to crop spread and diversity for stretching yield time and quantity? 

Response by Anneli Karlsson: Yes, this is one of the angles that we target in EdiCitNet. First, we assess the measures already installed and needs the cities have, secondly we analyse the practices and find the best practices/lessons learnt to create concepts which can be spread around the world.

The focus in the different Living Labs gives us the opportunity to explore a variety of concepts. There are experiments in the Living Lab in Andernach for example how to increase yield by using different fertilizers, or by different crop managing. The initiative always originates from the initiatives and circulate around their needs.   

Q: How do you celebrate success in your projects? what does success look like, and have you had to change your expectations as you have gone along? 

Response by Martina Artmann: From an academic point of view, success is linked with published papers. However, what touches my heart is any feedback that our research is inspiring to re-think unsustainable behaviours or to see something in another light.

Q: Has physical openness/closedness of the garden been a problematic issue (eg - damage created vs maintaining a place for community? 

Response by Anneli Karlsson: In more than a decade of experience in an open space Edible City of Andernach, we don’t have serious issues with damage. People tend to identify with the green areas and are more careful now than before (e.g. littering or dog feces). Occasional “early pick before the veggie or fruit is ripe” is seen as part of the experience and as a learning curve. We encourage the open, easy accessible space. Mostly animals (birds, rabbits) rather than people damage the plants.

Q: Robert, are your 31 employees employed fulltime?

A: No we don't offer fulltime employment, because we don't believe in it. All employments are between 15 and 30 hours per week.

Q: Robert, did you consider rooftop gardening and what kind of challenges did you meet if yes?

A: We did some rooftop gardens and our experience: good for production but bad for community because „the houses“ beneath the garden don´t want all those people in the staircase. It depends a lot on the type of entrance, but rooftop gardens tend to need to be localised for tenants only.

Q: Robert, how do you enable the local participants to decide on what workshops they want to do, what is your methodology?

A: You can talk to us 7 days a week on the spot at our little infopoint. Once a week there is an open plenum (everyone can come and participate), where desicions are taken concerning the garden. But i think the main way to encourage people is taking their ideas seriously, listen carefully and always try to help.

Q: Robert can you expand a bit on your plans for integrating urban farming into mourning culture? What do you think that will look like? Sounds really interesting!

A: We are not sure about this yet. At the moment our experience is: community-gardening is not disturbing people mourning. We are trying to for a group at the moment within wich we work with a professional mourning-therapist and offer gardening as one option for the people to cope with their personal situation

Q: Robert, how would you assess the openness of the public authorities towards edible city solutions? What are the main issues in your work?

A: From our perspective there is no such thing as „the city“, there are just different departments and some are open, and some are very difficult for us.

Q: Robert, you mentioned earlier, that the different gardens are located in quite different quarters with regard to the socio-economic settings. If you compare the gardens in Neukölln and Hellersdorf, do you see any differences with regard to the willingness of people to participate or with regard to the local decision-making processes?

A: Yes. there are huge differences. The more suburban place with more poverty has a much stronger sense of „the garden is mine“ wich makes it difficult to integrate new people, on the other hand the participant are identyfiing much stronger with the place. The one in the city-center work much more as a community, means letting things happen wich are done by other people or groups. On the other hand the identification of the people is less strong.

Q: Anneli, ladybirds are our friends in the garden, aren't they? However you are still catching them by traps? Less than pesticides, but it's still in place

A: Yes, ladybirds and many ground beetles and rove beetles eat pests that could damage the plants - they are definitely our friends! It's true that the trapping kills our friends, and it's not done lightly. However, although the numbers seem large, it's only a tiny proportion of the beetles in the area, and the results give information about ecosystem health, that we hope will contribute to more areas being set aside for gardening in the future. So hopefully, there will be a long-term benefit by providing more habitat for beetles in the future. In addition, this work has had a big educational impact. Many children have learned about beetles and their role in nature.

Q: Anna, when introducing your school programs for environmental education and food sovereignty did you experience any push-back from parents and other stakeholders, particularly thinking that these programs are part of a certain political ideology? or are these topics seen as politically nuetral?

A: Yes, Milena, in Germany some 20 years ago the gardening (mainly via allotment gardens) was a conservative thing, the edible City and Urban common movement made it attractive for the left wings and now it is mainstreamed to the whole society.

Q: Anna, did the pandemic change the connectedness betwen people and ECS?

A: Yes, because the reunion spaces disapeared, or turned into digital spaces, so the conections has been more cold. on othe way the pandemic has made that the inhabitants of the city discovered the agriculturian park and the directed sales from some farmers have increased in another place it has increased the interest of people to participate in social and comunity gardens.

Q: How can one achieve this ‚green’ mind-set in cities where investors and ‚eco-activists‘ are in competition for space. I feel like the lobby for sealing grounds is still stronger than the lobby for implementing green solutions. For instance in berlin when an existing permaculture community garden has to move and break down a whole ecosystem due to the plans of building a new gym for the neighbouring school. how can we find solutions that work for both concerns?

A: EdiCitNet tries to get all actors around the table through co-creation in the City Teams and to discuss, negotiate conflicts and power assymetries at eye level. It is a first step, but clearly a way to more open discourse...

Session #2: Edible City Policies & Strategies

Session #2: Edible City Policies & Strategies

Moderator: Maximilian Manderscheid, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (AT)

Guest speaker:

Doris Damyanovic, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (AT)

Presentation: "Integrating Edible City Solutions into Urban Planning in Vienna" Integrating Edible City Solutions in Urban Planning Strategies in Vienna (Doris Damyanovic, BOKU)


Doris Damyanovic holds an Associate Professorship for “Sustainable Landscape Planning and Gender Planning” at the Institute of Landscape Planning (BOKU Vienna). Her teaching and research focus is climate and gender-responsive Landscape and Urban Planning. 


Hilde Marie Herrebrøden, Oslo Municipality (NO)

Presentation: "Sprouting Oslo" Sprouting Oslo (Hilde Herrebroden, Oslo)


Hilde Marie Herrebrøden is engaged at the urban environment agency in Oslo municipality to work with EdiCitNet, map existing activities and potential for new areas and implement urban agriculture in urban planning legislation. Her background is practice as an architect and urban planner for 25 years, with 2 years’ education in organic agriculture.

Tina Hilbert + Sören Bott, Senate Department of Urban Development and Housing, Berlin (DE)

Presentation: "Anchoring Edible City Solutions in Berlin" Anchoring Edible City Solutions in Berlin (Tina Hilbert + Sören Bott, Berlin)

Tina Hilbert works in the Senate Department for Urban Development, Building and Housing of the Federal State of Berlin. She deals with coordination aspects in the Urban Development Support programme “Social Cohesion – Building Coexistence in the Neighbourhood Together”, a major instrument as well as funding source for urban renewal and social cohesion.

Sören Bott works in the Senate Department for Urban Development, Building and Housing of the Federal State of Berlin. Together with Tina Hilbert he deals with coordination aspects in the Urban Development Support programme “Social Cohesion – Building Coexistence in the Neighbourhood Together”, a major instrument as well as funding source for urban renewal and social cohesion.


Boubaker Houman, EdiCitNet City Team, Carthage (TN)

Presentation: "Integrating Edible City Solutions in Carthage"Integrating Edible City Solutions in Carthage City (Boubaker Houman, Carthage)

Boubaker Houman has a PhD in Agro-eco-pedology and is a specialist in soil and environmental sciences. Teacher and researcher for more than 35 years at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Tunis, he was also Chief of Staff at the Ministry of the Environment. An environmental activist for the respect of human rights and the environment, he is a member and activist of several Mediterranean networks.

Latifa Bousselmi + Lamia Bouziri, Association la Recherche en Action (TN)

Presentation: "The new components of urban agriculture in the 'Grand Tunis'"  The New Components of Urban Agriculture in the Grand Tunis (Latifa Bousselmi and Lamia Bouziri, REACT))

Lamia Bouziri is a Food Engineer with a PhD in Environmental Sciences and also a researcher at the Centre des Recherches et Technologies des Eaux at the Technopole (CERTE) of Bordj-Cédria. She is a member of REACT (Association la Recherche en Action) and involved in the promotion of urban agriculture and its inclusion in the strategic plans of cities in Tunisia through the European project EdiCitNet.

Latifa Bousselmi is chemical & process engineer, PhD, HDR and Professor at the Centre for Water Research and Technologies, CERTE in Tunisia. She is co-founder and current vice president of the association for sustainable development ‘REACT (Association la Recherche en Action) where she is coordinating the EdiCitNet. She is involved in several EU projects and previously coordinated an FP7 Era-Wide project.

Q&A (answered live in the chat during the session + others followed up on by the panelists)
Q: I love the watering bike! Tell us where we can find out more about this! It's a great practical solution to a typical problem in urban gardening projects :-)

Q: Doris, Maybe not for the discussion now, but I would be really interested in case you know anything about the subsidies for community gardens. Our impression is that there is no money in that pot for the last 5 years and no plans on refilling the pot?

A: I am not a expert on that, the subsidies still exist but I don’t know if the pot in full.

Q: Doris, how is Vienna is considering the topic of environmental justice, a concept that is related to many other urban strategies adressing climate, biodiversity, pollution and health among others?

A: I think the city addresses this but I am not an expert.

Q: Doris, here in Greece we have many refugees and immigrants, how the community gardens in Athens could work according to your research ? Thank you

A: I would make a difference between refugees and immigrants who stay longer. It depend on the time they will stay. It will take time to integrate them. It depends if they are interested in gardening!

Q: Hilde how much funding is the city budget providing, and what type of costs do these funds cover? (salary, plot rent, equipment ect.?)

A: The budget for the City administration is in the baseline financing 1 fulltime occupation and 200,000 Euro to the subsidy scheme. Extended targed activites can yearly be added to the budget by the city council. That can be pilots, reports, mapping of existing activities and potential areas that support the goals in the strategy. For the time beeing we are 3 persons working full time with urban agriculture in the municipality and one of these are partly financed by EdiCitNet.

Q: Bouba, Latifa and Lamia: How could the integration of the planning of Ville de Carthage could be integrated into the Big Tunis context. Are there planning or governance tools that are suitable to do this?

Response from Bouba: Government Decree No. 926-2020 of November 25, 2020* sets out the procedures for the preparation or revision of urban development plans and their approval and in accordance with the provisions of Articles 21, 114 and 239 of the aforementioned Organic Law No. 2018-29 of May 9, 2018 on the Local Government Code. http://www.equipement.tn/fr/principaux-secteurs/urbanisme/reglementation/

Q: Bouba, in Germany at UNESCO Heritage sites there is often the critic that the UN ask for strict regulations but the supporting funding is mostly invisible, thus only those areas with good economics can really have the Luxury to haave a recognized Hertiage site. How this is in Carthage? Are there synergies with the heritage authorities, and how flexible they can be?

Response from Bouba: Heritage management is highly centralized in Tunisia. For the city of Carthage, whose archaeological site is inscribed on the World Cultural Heritage List, the situation is even more restrictive and inflexible since the authorities in charge of cultural affairs at the national level strictly apply UNESCO's recommendations without coordination with local decision-makers. The "over-protection" of the site translates into a "freezing" of the archaeological lands which are thus excluded from the development process desired by the population.

Q: Bouba, from a legal point of view, is it possible to do ECS in archaeological sites? 

Response from Bouba: The rigidity of the heritage protection law does not authorize interventions on archaeological sites, but the REALITY of the field is quite different, especially when it comes to agricultural practices, which leaves open the possibility of a possible amendment of the regulations in force in favor of the implementation of ECS.

Q: Bouba and Carthage City Team, thanks for this impressive presentation of a very special place in our world. Do you collaborate within the World Heritage community with other cities that certainly have similar challenges but also opportunities in terms of food or at least greening?

Response from Bouba: Twinning and collaborations exist with cities around the Mediterranean, but these do not yet focus on food systems or even greening.

Q: Hilde, you mentioned, the discussion on the strategy started in 2020 and it was adopted in 2019 by the city council: Why did it take 9 years? :) What could speed up the difficult process?

Response from Hilde: Urban agriculture came on the political agenda around 2010 and they started a prosess to implement it the city governance and made a draft on a «agriculture notification». In 2015 there was a political shift and the new city council wantede to give their own signature and started a new proces. The strategy came as a political order in 2017 to the urban environment agency and was adopted by the city council in 2019.

Session #3: Building Alliances for Edible City Solutions

Session #3: Building Alliances for Edible City Solutions: Meet the speakers

Moderator: Vic Borrill, Brighton & Hove Food Partnership (UK)


Nienke Bouwhuis, Groen 010 (NL)

Presentation: "Grassroots taking the lead"Grassroots Taking the Lead (Nienke Bouwhuis, Groen 010)


Nienke is an architect and co-founder of Krachtgroen, a multidisciplinary designers collective that develops the power of green space in and around the city of Rotterdam. Nienke has been working in Rotterdam on various green projects for the past 12 years, including setting up the city-wide network Groen010. All involve the strengthening of green, social, healthy, edible, climat-adaptive, educational and biodiverse networks in the city.


Kerstin Stelmacher, Kiezgarten Berlin (DE)

Presentation: "Fertile Cooperations"Fertile Cooperations (Kerstin Stelmacher, Kiezgarten, Berlin)


Kerstin Stelmacher has been an urban gardening activist since 2001 in Berlin and besides gardening, is passionate about networking and intersectoral collaboration for sustainable urban development. She is one of the founders and members of the “Forum Stadtgärtnern” – a Berlin network of allotment and community gardens and of the Netzwerk Urbane Garten Berlin. Kerstin works as an urban planner.


Leon Ballin, Sustainable Food Places (UK)

Presentation: "Making healthy and sustainable food a defining characteristic of where people live"Making healthy and sustainable food a defining characteristic of where people live (Leon Ballin, Sustainable Food Places, UK)


Leon Ballin leads programme delivery at Sustainable Food Places, a network that brings together pioneering food partnerships from towns, cities, boroughs, districts and counties across the UK that are driving innovation and best practice on all aspects of healthy and sustainable food. Sustainable Food Places is a partnership programme led by the Soil Association, Food Matters and Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming.


Kai Gildhorn, Terra Concordia (DE)

Presentation: "Wir sind essbar - The German Network of Edible Cities"Wir Sind Essbar - The German Network of Edible Cities (Kai Gildhorn, Mundraub, Berlin Germany)

Kai Gildhorn founded mundraub.org in 2010 and Wir sind essbar (We are edible) in 2018. He is an environmental engineer, a fruit tree arborist and a social entrepreneur.

Jan-Eelco Jansma, Wageningen University (NL)

Presentation: "European Forum on Urban Agriculture"European Forum on Urban Agriculture (EFUA) (Jan-Eelco Jansma, Wageningen University)

Jan-Eelco Jansma has a BSc in Agronomics and an MSc in Crop Protection. Over the past 25 years, he operated as an action researcher under the wings of Wageningen University and Research (NL). His ambition is to develop a better balance between agriculture and societal needs. In that context, he has been exploring and researching the various angles of urban food systems, with a key focus on (peri-) urban agriculture.

Ana Moragues, University of Barcelona (ES)

Presentation: "The Emergence of City Food Networks"The Emergence of City Food Networks (Ana Moragues, University of Barcelona)

Ana Moragues Faus is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Barcelona. Her inherently interdisciplinary research revolves mainly around urban and regional development, sustainable food systems, food security, social justice, and governance with a strong dedication to having an international impact.

Q&A (questions answered directly in the chat + others followed-up on by the panelists)
Q: Nienke, what methods do you use for bringing together the other existing green networks in the city? How do you keep everyone interested and motivated to work together as a network?
A: We organize get togethers around shared topics. The main topic: we are all dealing with sustaining ous ECS's, therefore we have this shared interest and join forces
Q: Nienke, maybe I missed it but before EdiCitNet came along how did you finance yourself in the beginning?
A: Groen010 wasn't funded in the beginning, we were all funded through other means/ our 'own' initiatives/ joined in our spare time. Mostly we used subsidies, sometimes assignments,. The subsidies have been mainly incidental. And also we continously put in a lot of spare time. We are now searching for ways to find structural finance for the proven initiatives and collaborations in Rotterdam. The municipality is now cooporating in this search.
Q: Nienke, and Kerstin, what are some good strategies to convince other urban green initiatives to collaborate with urban food ones, given the hidden competition for space and resources in cities?
Response from Nienke: We stress the strength of joining forces and standing strong together. All green initiatives share many beneficial values. We believe we this value should be valued by sustaining the initiatives by means of funding, preserving green areas in cities, connecting the spaces with green recreational routes and becoming a healthy urban landscape together.
Q: Leon,  I agree vegetable box schemes are very important (I used to get one from SOG!) but also definitely still appeal to quite a limited clientele. How can we use networks to bring this food, from a shortened food chain, to people beyond middle-classes already interested in organic food?
A: It's a problem - even if prices are competitive - more about percption of organic. One way is to allow government vouchers e.g. 'healthy start' for young mothers - to be used in box schemes. Other way is to see the box schemes as food coops and market accordingly
Q: Kai, you mentioned that the municipalities can delete their data regarding the trees at any time. Has this happened before (I think not) but what reasons could there be for this?
A: Frankfurt deleted their data. They published them 5 years ago but some things have changed - e.g. some trees were rented out to citizens and schools and are not longer freely available to the public. The interest in public fruit trees has rised in the past few years, which is good. Also Wiesbaden has drawn back their data - same reason.
Q: How to address the clear need for joining efforts to share knowledge, coordinate efforts, lobby for change, while avoiding the danger of setting up networks for the sake of networking, a danger that Mary alluded to yesterday?
A: People find each other when they feel the same pain or when they have similar goals. I think you feel it when being in a network feels uneasy or stressful and this is the case when it is designed for the sake of networking.
Q: Anam what are some of the successful examples you have seen of knowledge-sharing within networks? I know knowledge-sharing is so central to many networks, but also can be difficult to enact.

A: Yes, it can be difficult to enact. I recommend reading this paper that explains different examples, from webinars to face to face meetings, newsletters, email platforms for specific questions, expert facilitation, development of guides, awards, etc. Moragues-Faus, A., 2021. The emergence of city food networks: Rescaling the impact of urban food policiesFood Policy, p.102107.

But also check out the Sustainable Food Places network in the UK, I think they have some of the best examples, and they also implemented a programme of peer support, where some expert cities mentor other cities directly, I think that is very useful.