Edible Cities Network (EdiCitNet) is an innovation and research project funded by the EU Horizon 2020 program (H2020). The program is the world’s largest research and innovation program with 80 billion euros designated for innovation and research. In H2020, the focus is on resolving key societal challenges, and the call that the EdiCitNet proposal has addressed is about demonstrating innovative nature-based solutions to urban challenges.
Norwegian partners in EdiCitNet are NIBIO, OsloMET, Nabolagshager and the City of Oslo, Department of Environment and Transport. Other cities participating include Berlin, Rotterdam, Heidelberg and others. The EdiCitNet project is coordinated by the German universities Technische Universität Berlin and Humboldt Universität.
As part of this project, Oslo Municipality and Nabolagshager will collaborate on establishing a range of activities that will create circular food projects and new jobs in Greenland using a “living lab” methodology.
Oslo Living Lab will focus on food production from waste / underutilized resources in Grønland, a multicultural neighborhood with high poverty and socio-economic challenges. The objective of this living lab is to promote a circular economy model that innovates urban food production while reducing waste, creating labour market skills and job opportunities for local residents. The project will focus in particular on entrepreneurship among vulnerable groups like single parents, women and youth who have dropped out of higher education. We will especially focus on residents of minority backgrounds.
Pilots for urban food production based on waste and underutilized resources will be launched at the same time as we will work on developing business models to ensure continued work opportunities, even after the end of the project. Such opportunities include, for example, gardening and / or beekeeping on underused roofing surfaces, cultivation of mushrooms in used coffee grids from cafes in the area, or production of fish feed for aquaponics based on waste from a nearby microbrewery. The combination of the different concepts will lead to more robust business models. Combined concepts also ensure that participants acquire a wider range of work skills. Some of the potential future customers are local restaurants, public entities and/or city events that involve food consumption, many of which will also be stable sources of waste raw materials for these processes.
Initiatives are centered around a city block in Grønland, with the aim of creating a model for hyperlocal loops out of existing resources. The model for such closed loop city blocks should be based on a mapping tool that will adjust to local resources available, as they greatly differ from street to street and neighborhood to neighborhood. This ensures that the Edicitnet model can be applied elsewhere after the initial piloting in Oslo.
The follow-up of the municipality’s sustainable procurement strategy aimed at facilitating purchases from social entrepreneurs and green start-up is also included in the project’s mandate. The city will also launch a pilot project to accommodate a local ‘farmers market’ for urban food producers. These tasks will be handled by the City authorities.
Innovation and entrepreneurship
In addition to the local living lab, Nabolagshager together with Wageningen University will also coordinate a work package of the international project that focuses on business opportunities and job creation as key strategies to ensure the longevity of the Edicitnet efforts. The work will include mapping and sharing relevant business concepts and opportunities, and a coordinating and supporting function between the different participating cities and firms participates in EdiCitNet.
For questions about this project, contact project manager Helene Gallis at helene @ nabolagshager.no.