AGRI-URBAN is about Rethinking Agrifood Production in Small and Medium-sized Cities. Many small and medium-sized cities across Europe have a relative specialization in Agrifood production. Roughly speaking, it is a seemingly mature industry, which still plays an important role in terms of GDP, employment and environmental sustainability. That is why new growth potentials have to be activated by means of innovation, new business models or making the most of the cluster approach.
We will tackle initiatives related to short circuits of production and consumption, access to land and employment for youth in agriculture, training policies and support for the inclusion of new producers, urban agriculture, organic products or planning regulations related to agricultural land. A new link between urban and rural spaces, through an integrated urban focus and putting the target in employment creation is our main purpose.
This link is based on a multi-dimensional concept of sustainability which includes three types of objectives: Socio-cultural - promoting quality of life and wellness; strengthening sense of place in the local communities and creating jobs in the food sector; empowering communities by strengthening the role of citizens in economic development; Economic: territorial integration attracting and retaining population, improving city image, increasing competitiveness, attracting professionals and entrepreneurs; and Environmental: promoting organic farming and good practices, as well as environmental measures; soil preservation avoiding urban occupation of fertile land and incorporating agriculture in appropriate urban spaces and in the urban-rural interface; fostering multi-functionality in rural lands.
During the first phase of the AGRI-URBAN project, the cities of Fundão (Portugal), Marchin (Belgium), Cesena (Italy), Södertäje (Sweden) and Pyli (Greece) join the lead partner city, Baena (Spain), to form a partnership that will be enlarged up to ten cities in the second phase.