Contributions to the Discussion

Contributions September 18-30, 2000

UPA, Health and Environment
Contributions to session three of the UPA, Health and Environment Discussion group (September 18-30)

From: Giulia Abbate
Date: 19-9
Concerns: Use of GIs; farmers education

Dear all,
I have been reading contributions to this conference with much interest, as the subject is quite stimulating and has a direct impact on life of people in all types of countries, from very poor to very developed. Due to my job
background, I agree with suggestion of using Geographical Information System (GIS), remote sensing and GPS (Global Positioning System) to collect accurate and geo-referenced information about main cities in the world. This
should include socio-economic and health information (so this approach is of interest for all three groups in this E-conference). This would help epidemiological studies on particular diseases or understanding issues
regarding uneven distribution of food, social services, etc.
As for UPA itself, I believe that aim of such a geographical data base should not be "planning", but rather "promotion" of activities which are half way between recreation-education-health care and food production.
Promotion of these activities is promotion of human being, is caring ourselves, our relationship with Mother Earth, with cycles of Nature. Growing our own food is source of deep satisfaction; following rhythms of vegetal life helps understanding what really counts in life. I have to say that technical knowledge should go together with love and respect to land. I think that practical courses covering technical and operational aspects of vegetable and fruit growing for children and adults should be very appropriate. Otherwise costs may be much higher than product income. To save values of local traditions and experience, instructors should be local
professionals in agriculture (i.e. retired or part-time), together with experts in new techniques (national and/or international). But also internet and/or TV courses could be useful, at least in developed countries. Contribution for poor people/areas should be considered (i.e. give them seeds/plants, little equipment, plant medicines, free training, help in digging wells, commercialise extra product, .... ). I myself spend most of my week-ends enjoying agriculture hobby, but without gaining a more technical expertise I could not survive out of it. Thank you for this opportunity of reading so many qualified interventions and sharing views.
Best regards.
Giulia Abbate
From: Arturo Perez Vazquez (Research Student at Imperial College, Ashford, Kent)
Date: 21-9
Concerns: risk reduction by farmers education on organic agriculture and production of safe compost
(The following message was taken from a much longer contribution of Arturo Perez to the Food Security discussion group)

En los paises pobres, particularmente en aquellos en donde el recurso hidrico es escaso, se debera de legislar sobre el uso del agua. Es conocido que la demanda del recurso hidrico esta creciendo aceleradamente a nivel mundial y aunque es un recurso natural renovable en muchas partes del mundo se esta convirtiendo en un recurso no renovable. Particularmente debido a las altas tasas de deforestacion, y a la contaminacion del recurso. Por otro lado el uso de
aguas residuales conllevan el riesgo de contaminacion de alimentos. De ahi la necesidad de capacitar a los productores urbanos en tecnicas de cosecha de agua de lluvia, tecnicas de tratamiento de aguas jabonosas y/o
residuales, practicas que reduscan la evaporacion (coberteras, pajas, grava, abonos organicos, etc..) y aun en sistemas de produccion inovativos (sub-irrigacion, capsulas porosas, riego por goteo, etc..) de un mejor uso
del recurso.

Respecto al composteo o al producto organico resultado de este proceso bioquimico, no hay duda de sus bondades. Sin embargo, muchos agricultores urbanos carecen de los conocimientos basicos y adecuados para llevar un
adecuado composteo de los residuos organicos, que permita eliminar patogenos y a la vez producir un producto rico en nitrogeno, fosforo y potasio principalmente. Estoy hablando practicamente de los niveles de humedad, de
pH, tamano de particula, aireado, relacion C:N y otros factores que contribuyen a llevar un efectivo proceso de composteo. De otra manera lo que se estaria produciendo seria un material parcialmente composteado, de baja
calidad nutrimental y con riesgos de contener patogenos.
Respecto a la preocupacion de agroquimicos en los alimentos y su relacion con la agricultura organica permitanme mencionar lo siguiente: La agricultura organica en espacios urbanos de agricultura puede ser instruida
pero lo mas importante es que la gente por si misma reconosca la importancia y beneficios que le puede aportar producir alimentos organicos. No solo en terminos de salud para el y su familia, pero de obtener ingresos extras. Pero es bien sabido que aun en muchos paises pobres o en desarrollo el precio entre productos organicos y convencionales no hay una gran diferencia. Ademas la demanda interna de productos organicos no es tan fuerte ni esta creciendo tan aceleradamente como si sucede en algunos paises ricos.

Los factores que impulsan el desarrollo de la agricultura urbana en los diferentes paises del mundo pueden responder a diferentes necesidades sociales. En paises ricos la necesidad de desarrollar la agicultura urbana no es tanto la produccion de alimentos para comercializar (entiendase para generar un ingreso extra) sino como una actividad meramente de entretenimiento y de relax, dando un valor importante obviamente a la produccion de alimentos frescos y libres de residuos de agroquimicos y aun de contaminacion transgenica. Pero en los paises pobres mas que "safety food" lo que se busca es tener una mayor seguridad alimentaria ("food security"). Por ejemplo, la agricultura organica en los allotments en Inglaterra esta incrementandose cada vez mas en respuesta a los temores de alimentos transgenicos, de agroquimicos, preservantes y colorantes en los alimentos. La agricultura organica en los allotments es practicada principalmente por las nuevas generaciones y con una inclinacion mayor ntre las mujeres. Sin embargo, muchos productores de allotments debido a su edad (debo de mencionar que la edad promedio de la gente que trabaja en los allotments es de 58 anos) y a lo pesado que resulta controlar lo que se denomina como "malezas" hacen uso de herbicidas y del rotocultor para roturar el suelo como una forma de aligerar el trabajo. Pero ademas para muchos de ellos el uso de agroquimicos en la agricultura es visto como algo normal. Lo mas importante para ellos es saber que producto quimico estan usando, usar la cantidad menos posible y ademas cuando fue aplicado el

Saludos y muchos exitos!!

Arturo Perez Vazquez
Tel 01233 63 42 11
From: Dagmar KUNZE (FAO - Regional Office for Africa, Accra, GHANA)
Date: 21-9
Subject: waste water re-use: safe water certificate

(The question below was taken from a contribution to the Food Security discussion group)

Last issue is a question to other participants: do you know of any "water certification scheme" to certify the use of clean water for production in any country? How this can be set up? Accra tourism board and farmers are worried with the safety of products by the use of polluted water. We have a request to look into this issue by introducing a "certificate". In fact, clean water products can be bought at a comparatively high price (typical expats shops), but the farmer association and ministry are rather looking at a certification program for "all" farmers. Any ideas on this issue are welcome.

Dr. Dagmar KUNZE
Tel.: 00233-21-701 09 30 or 675 000 ext. 3137 (operator)

From: Karen Lock (research fellow LSHTM
Date: 23-9
Concerns: health interventions in non-health service sectors; health impact assessments

Can policy and project assessment tools strengthen health considerations in UPA policy and planning? Many governments and international organisations now accept that major improvements in public health are much more likely to be achieved through interventions in economic, agricultural, and other 'non- health service' sectors. Many institutional attempts have been made to strengthen the health focus in non-health sector projects and policies. Currently health impact assessment (HIA) is becoming increasingly developed and used worldwide by governments, NGO's and local organisations. Its has not currently been used for UPA policy and planning. But it may prove a useful way of allowing UPA practitioners to engage with policymakers and planners to promote UPA, and ensure that public health is protected and promoted.

Health impact assessment is a combination of methods whose aim is to assess the health consequences to a population of a policy, project, or programme that does not necessarily have health as its primary objective. It is a
multidisciplinary process within which a range of evidence about the health effects of a proposal is considered in a structured framework. It takes into account the opinions and expectations of those who may be affected by a
proposed policy or project. Potential health impacts of a proposal are analysed and used to influence the decision making process ( Lock K, 2000)

There are two main theoretical foundations of health impact assessment;
- policy appraisal and promotion of healthy public policy
- environmental impact assessment and risk assessment

In developing countries health impact assessment has been developed as a risk assessment tool for environmental development projects (Birley MH, 1995)
The method considers health impacts in five main disease categories: communicable disease, non-communicable disease, nutrition, injury, and mental disorder. It uses rapid appraisal techniques to consider the evidence for specific health risks related to the project. Risk reduction strategies are then proposed . For example, what will be the impact on diarrhoeal disease if waste water is used for local agricultural irrigation? The risk reduction strategy might propose limiting the type of crops irrigated to those that are eaten cooked, and to improve institutional monitoring and treatment of wastewater. Health impact assessment has successfully been used in various projects including water resource developments and agricultural projects in Africa, Asia, the Middle East. It is also gaining prominence in Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.. HIA guidelines and training programmes have been developed by some international development organisations including the Asian Development Bank, the World Healt Organisation and the World Bank.

I am interested to get to know the opinion of other participants:
- Are assessment tools, such as health impact assessment, are useful in promoting UPA?
- Do they improve dialogue between UPA practitioners and decision makers from different sectors (i.e. health, agriculture and planning sectors)?

Lock K. Health Impact Assessment. British Medical Journal, 2000;320:1395-1398 ,20 May. Full text at
Birley MH. The health impact assessment of development projects. 1995, London, HMSO. Full text at:

From: Ole Persson (Portland, Oregon USA)
Date: 24-9
Concerns: Reuse of household wastes by ecological sanitation

We have been doing what was described by Paul Calvert [in his contribution regarding ecological sanitation] for years in an American urban setting with excellent results.

From: Elisheva Kaufman
Date: 28-9
Concerns: re-use waste water; ecological education

(The following contribution was taken from a longer contribution to the Food security Group)

As an IDRC Agropolis PhD Researcher in Urban Farming Education, I would like to share experiences, project summary and resources, with the hope of stimulating networking to advance education for community-based ecological food systems solutions. Our project was initiated in summer, 2000, and will produce year one of a demonstration bio-intensive urban educational garden in Jerusalem, a Palestinian family eco-farm in the
West Bank, and supporting educational workshops and activities in regenerative farming addressing water, soil and biodiversity restoration.
The soil and water restoration curricula and site photos will be posted on the IDRC website in summer, 2001.

Project Summary: The Sword and the Plowshare - School Gardening as a Strategy to foster Community-based Sustainable Food Systems and Youth Empowerment
This project proposes to build educational capacity for regenerative farming and sustainable food systems, and will produce educational resources in :
1. School Composting
2. Natural Wastewater Treatment Biosystems
3. Restoring Biodiversity by Seed-Saving Heirloom Vegetables

Co-ordinated with a demonstration urban organic garden in Jerusalem and a Palestinian family eco-farm in the West Bank, a teacher-team process will pilot activities to empower young people to cultivate ecological school gardens. A developmental K-8 curriculum will integrate gardening within child's expanding world of nature, community and heritage. Integrated composting and natural wastewater treatment biosystems will create a hands-on laboratory for young people to investigate how to recycle nutrients and water for the gardens.
Native drought and pest resistant vegetables varieties will be cultivated, surrounded by wild foods and herbs to restore biodiversity, and enhance natural habitats for beneficial insect predators.
Sustainability and regenerative waste farming will be a core theme to integrate learning for young people , so that grade-by-grade, season by season, school gardening projects will help foster a restoration the fabric of a vital school-community on the land.

Project Partners:
* Palestinian Hydrology Group: <>; Pilot School and demonstration Palestinian eco-farm ( parents, 11 children and extended family) located in the West Bank, with composting toilet and greywater reuse, and dryland permaculture, focusing on soil restoration - composting, mulching and cover cropping
* Society for the Protection of Nature In Israel, Jerusalem branch, Pilot school and demonstration urban bio-intensive organic garden, using treated greywater and collected rainwater used for irrigation, and urban foodscraps vermicomposted on-site

Communities world-wide are facing an unprecedented environmental crisis that is acute in developing countries. The conventional response is to attempt to increase food and water supply with costly high input technologies, such as intensive use of agrochemicals, conventional wastewater treatment, or genetic engineering of food crops, that require high capital and energy investment. These sophisticated technologies have ecological impact, require centralised systems that are complex to manage, and are economically prohibitive for small farms and rural communities.
A systemic solution to reduce critical food, land, water stress entails a shift in thinking to how resources are managed at the local scale, and the educational systems that generate the values and skills for local ecological management.

Typically used water and biological inputs are disposed as waste products.
Water enters the home and disappears down the drain. Food comes in and is thrown away as garbage. Ecological waste management transforms this one-way flow of input-output to an ecological recycling system based on two basic principles:
a. Source Separation: Materials are separated from other materials in the home, or close by in the local community.
b. Ecological Recycling: Separated water and organic materials are returned to nature close by harnessing natural processes. By regenerating our water and biological Owastes¹, we can recover abundant nutrients and water that can nourish a school garden or landscape - without need for any purchased fertilisers or additional water. In nature there is no waste. There is no pollution. The output of one organism is the food for another in an ever-renewing cycle of life. Regeneration is at the heart of a healthy living system.

How can we learn from nature to renew the cycles that sustain us?
Current science education is informed by assumptions of human-nature relationships that contribute to centralised corporate-based food systems. On the other hand, holistic participatory science can facilitate working in partnership with natural systems and the co-operative practical skills that empower young people to become pro-active problem-solvers for dynamic sustainable communities.

Educational Program: Growing a Sustainable School
The Sustainable School Program invites young people on a journey of discovery that reconnects to experiences of working with nature that are rare in today¹s culture. A garden is a microcosm of the vast global lifecycles of nutrients and elements. Our food system is a microcosm of the social ecology of our community relationships. When we garden, we help restore the living cycles that sustain us.

From: Paul Muwowo (Ministry Of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Zambia)
Date: 28-9
Concerns: maiz-malaria

(The following message was taken from a contribution to the Urban Food security group)

Dear All,
Urban agriculture in Lusaka dates back to the mid 1930s when the first plan for Lusaka was done. In this plan Lusaka was intended to be a garden city with small cities linked with good transport network. As years past by, as the councils argues, squatters started settling in these areas.
A great deal of research has been done in the area of Urban and Peri-urban agriculture in Lusaka. (list of references is added).
These and many more have been done to illustrate the magnitude of this activity in Lusaka. Needless to say that many people look at this activity differently. Some Politicians have been trying to facilitate change in the federal laws which prohibit this activity (Urban agriculture). Although this is so, growing of maize is done with fears as the councils throughout the country threaten to cut down the maize because it is believed that Maize create an enabling environment for mosquitoes breeding.
Last year there was an interesting event. For those who have been to Lusaka will recall that the area between Chainama College and NRDC along Great East road was an open space. This is now a Presidential Housing Initiative (PHI) site. When The Project was commissioned, The areas had maize crops. This meant that if the project had to takeoff, they had to start by clearing/destroying the maize. A crop damage assessment was done and the owners of the fields were compensated. This to me was an indication that the Politicians acknowledged the importance the urban farmers attached to this activity and the investment they had put in terms of inputs.

As I indicated earlier, People view this activity differently. The rich or the well to do have little or no regard for Urban and Peri-Urban activities because the buy all the vegetable and fruits from the Supermarkets. On the other hand, The poor do gardening as a survival strategy.
This activity contributes very much to the nutrition of the families. Apart from the vitamins for the vegetables, most women buy Milk, Eggs, Milk and other things like medicines and clothes after their sales. Some people in Lusaka keep up to 500 Chickens in their backyards while some keep Goats and Sheep (Small livestock) as income generating activities. As a result of the laws and policies in place, The District Veterinary Office does not have statistics of small livestock in Lusaka.

The Papers/Case studies cover a wide range of topics (Health, Solid Waste management, Planning, Extension Dynamics, Nutrition, Household Food security, Marketing and many more) and provide a number of possible
recommendations and solutions. There has been no opportunity to bring together all the stake-holder to discuss these issues of Urban Agriculture. I am therefore requesting from anyone who has information about Organisation or Institution who can assist to bring the stake-holder together. A gathering like this will, in my view, bring together people with different views, backgrounds and professions who will in turn share ideas and plan how to include urban agriculture in the cities of Zambia. I believe that this could be the only way in which people attitude towards
urban agriculture can be changed.

Paul Muwowo (Home) Extension Methodologist Department of Field Services Ministry of Agriculture., Food and Fisheries Zambia.
Tel: +260-1-311148
Box 370189, Kafue, Lusaka Province, Zambia

From: Gez Cornish (HR Wallingford, UK)
Date: 29-9
Concerns: Quality of irrigation water

(The message below is taken from a contribution to the Food security group)


Peri-urban farmers using water from streams downstream of urban centres are re-using urban wastewater. As this water is often polluted with untreated municipal and industrial effluents there is a potential threat to
health of both consumers and irrigators. The study brings together knowledge relating to wastewater reuse for agriculture, and applies it in the context of uncontrolled, informal, smallholder irrigation in the peri-urban zone of
Kumasi, Ghana.

Work was carried out in two phases:
a. A literature review on wastewater re-use, particularly as it relates to uncontrolled use of polluted water for informal irrigation in the peri-urban zone of African cities.
b. A review of water quality data obtained from past studies carried out in the Kumasi peri-urban zone, supplemented by a targeted water quality sampling programme to give a first indication of the physical, chemical and microbiological quality of waters used for irrigation.

The report draws the following conclusions:
i) The Engelberg Guidelines for microbiological quality of wastewater use for irrigation are intended as a guide for the design of treatment plants, not as quality surveillance norms.
ii) Monitoring for the presence of intestinal nematode eggs is too complex and time consuming to be adopted as a routine procedure where resources are limited.
iii) Levels of microbiological pollution at all sites monitored downstream of Kumasi exceed FAO guidelines for unrestricted irrigation. Rivers upstream are relatively clean.
iv) There is no evidence of significant pollution with heavy metals or other chemical pollutants that pose a threat to irrigated cropping.
v) Water salinity does not pose a threat to crop production in this area.
vi) Shallow wells do not always offer a cleaner water source than surface streams and rivers.
vii) It may be possible to show that with simple precautions shallow wells provide water of a much higher quality than river water in the Sisa and Oda downstream of Kumasi (This is a practical area of intervention but one requiring further study before firm recommendations can be made).
vii) The relative risk to consumers resulting from wastewater irrigation and the misuse of agrochemicals remains unclear.
viii) The data set brought together by this study provides a baseline against which future trends can be compared.

The full report can be downloaded from:

The present phase of the project is concluding in March 2001 when a 3 day regional workshop on irrigation and peri-urban agriculture is taking place in Kumasi, Ghana. If conference participants are interested in receiving more details of that workshop or wish to receive the proceedings, please contact me.

Gez Cornish
HR Wallingford, Howbery Park, Wallingford, Oxon,UK, OX10 8BA
tel: +44 (0)1491-822441 fax: +44 (0)1491 826352

From: Gisèle Yasmeen
Date: 30-9
Concerns: Wastewater aquaculture & Horticulture,India

Dear Urban Health UPA Participants,

My name is Gisèle Yasmeen and I have already contributed (a few weeks ago) to the discussions on Planning and Food Security. I am an urban geographer completing a report for the Int'l Dev't Research Ctr's South Asia Regional Office on Urban Agriculture in India. My work in general concerns urban food-systems in South and Southeast Asia.

Je suis désolée de ne pas avoir le temps de traduire ma contribution en français.

I would like to respond to the following "Moderators comment": There is a balance to be reached in using wastewater in UPA. There is a need to use wastewater and waste as essential sources of water and fertiliser versus the need to protect the health of farmers and consumers. At a policy level how do we approach this balance? Do we need to improve education of farming techniques, crop selection and personal protection issues? Do we need to improve appropriate levels of technology for waste treatment, irrigation etc? Are there co-ordinated approaches to this which bring together various solutions?

Those of you who have read Jac Smit, Joe Nasr & Annu Ratta's UNDP volume Urban Agriculture are no doubt already familiar with the very well-established practise of wastewater fed aquaculture and horticulture in West Bengal (esp. in the Calcutta area). No need to repeat it here but for those who aren't familiar I will quote a section from my draft IDRC report. This is for information purposes only, please, not for official citation yet.

The only information that was obtained on urban aquaculture in India pertains to West Bengal. This is apart from general works on aquaculture (Giriappa, 1999; Shiva and Karir, 1996; Srivastava, 1993). In particular, the Salt Lake area of Calcutta is internationally renowned for the harvesting of fish and other food products in a wetland fed by urban waste and rainwater. (Prof. CK Varshney, personal communication, 2000). Bengalis, being a fresh-water fish eating population have a long distinguished history of creating and managing fishponds in both urban and rural areas.
In Ghosh's 1993 piece entitled "Towards the wise use of wetlands", the author argues for the retention of Calcutta's wetlands "as a means of providing food, sanitation, additional employment and open spaces". In particular he outlines how:
* 'Garbage gardens' provide an average f 150 tonnes of fresh vegetables daily for the city of Calcutta, while the fisheries provide 8,000 tonnes of fish per year. Better management systems would see this figure rise to about 16,000 tonnes/year.
* The city's sewage output amounts to some 680,000,000 litres per day. At present, no more than a third of this reaches the fishponds, which help to treat the sewage and act as stabilisation tanks. A new treatment plan for the city would cost about US $4.5 million.
* The wetland region provides year-round employment at the rate of two people/ha. Any plan to establish an alternative land use in the region would have to include relocation of approximately 20,000 families (p. 2).
* The Salt Lake marsh is an "Internationally important wetland [being] the world's largest and oldest integrated resource recovery system, in which both agriculture and aquaculture use wastewater nutrients". It is also, Ghosh argues, an effective form of waste management provided it is managed properly. Unfortunately, the author points to the diminishing level of local skills when it comes to traditional wetland management in West Bengal due to the rapid disappearance of such habitats.

The Calcutta experience with aquaculture was also profiled in the UNDP study produced by Jac Smit, Joe Nasr and Annu Ratta entitled Urban Agriculture: Food, Jobs and Sustainable Cities (1996). The authors explain how the fisheries are operated by approximately 4,000 families - most of whom migrated in the 1950s from what is now Bangladesh. These fisherfolk lease the land from landlords who hold long-term leases on the land from the municipality. Most of those engaged in the aquacultural activities are organised into co-operatives. "The West Bengal State Fishermen's Co-operative Federation, Ltd., a state-level organisation, helps in the management of the co-operative societies and arranges supply of inputs and finance" (UNDP 1996, 65). The fish farming taking place here supply one fifth's of greater Calcutta's fish. "The city sewage that feeds the ponds is appropriately treated through methods developed by the fishermen over the years. The fish have been found for more than 20 years to be s fer for consumption than river-produced fish" (Ibid.).

Another case on safe use of sewage for aquaculture is presented by Jacky Foo (Coordinator-IBSnet) documents three cases regarding the safe use of sewage to fertilise fishpond water. One of the cases, profiled below, concerns Bangladesh. All three area available at

Case Study 1: Mirzapur Farm, Bangladesh (since 1985).
Three stabilisation ponds from a failed project for treating sewage were converted into fishponds. Raw sewage (125-270 m3 / day) from a community of about 3000 inhabitants, collects at a sedimentation pond before the wastewater (containing 45,700 cfu/ml total coliform) is pumped into a plug-flow canal covered with duckweed. It takes 22 days to reach the outlet of the canal and the effluent has less than 100 cfu total coliforms per ml (within the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard for water quality of water to be discharged into receiving body). The resulting sludge and water used for growing bananas.

However, as per the earlier section on pollution and other hazards associated with the pattern and extent of Indian urbanisation there are still a number of challenges with respect to urban aquaculture. One of the primary issues is keeping food safe particularly in the case of fish, which spoils quickly in a warm environment. Also, can current aquacultural methods be sustained in rapidly growing cities that produce more and new types of waste? Fortunately, since Indians typically cook fish extensively, a higher coliform count is more permissible than that which is acceptable in, say, Japan or Korea where raw fish is consumed. Though the available literature does not emphasise it, another matter of great concern is also heavy metal contamination as a result of air and waterborne pollution.

Regarding the UNDP book (Smit et al). I want to point out that it is an EXCELLENT piece but NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE to locate. The book has been on order at UBC library for 6 months at least and I finally cancelled my order with Chapters on line because it had been two months and the book had still not arrived. I have yet to write directly to Jac Smit to request it. This book ought to be better distributed.. it's a pity. I hope the situation will improve.

Also, from what I can see, there has only been one other participant who has contributed on UA in this e-conference re: India and that is Paul Calvert of EcoSolutions, India (and I would love to know more about his work there but his e-mail does not appear to have been reproduced in the contribution forwarded by Henk de Zeeuw). There are at least 50 potential participants in India who could contribute to such a forum in the future. Many of them are on the internet. Ironically, despite India being one of the IT capitals of the world, a number of very interesting UPA contacts in India are not on e-mail and still type with a manual typewriter!

Finally, MANY MANY THANKS to the organisers and moderators for this excellent opportunity. I look forward to the final summary of the conference and hope to meet many of you in person in the future.


Gisèle Yasmeen, Ph.D. Research Associate University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada;

Principal, Agora Associates Food Research & Consulting Stand by for the future release of a website on Sustainable Urban Food Systems! (Very rough draft available at

From: Oleg Moldakov
Date: 30-9
Concerns: urban farmers organisation and planning process in Petersburg

St-Petersburg, Russia case

What social and institutional actors should be involved in research, planning, implementation and evaluation regarding UPA, health and environment? What institutional arrangements would you recommend?

Founded at 1995, the Office for the Development of Horticulture and Gardening in Saint Petersburg and the Leningrad Region is a one of the city administration's departments. It is an example of an institutional arrangement made by city authorities and key stakeholders. This committee co-ordinates the plans for the development of urban agriculture with other departments , such as the City Committee on Urban Planning and Architecture, Committee on Saint Petersburg Land Resources and Land Use, Committee on City Property Management, Department of Protection of the Environment and the Veterinary inspection.

Then urban farmers historically are organised in gardening communities and cottage construction
co-operatives. More socially active gardeners have created an regional and interregional public organisation " Union of the gardeners ", with help of Office for the Development of Horticulture and Gardening. Farmers need to be organised and legalised to solve their problems!. It is especially important not to spread organisational efforts thinly in a myriad of small weak and disoriented UA farmers organisations, but try to enlarge and to be clearly needs-oriented in order to be in a more serious position before authorities

It is also necessary to include in the process also agencies on purchase, exchange and sale of the land areas, insurance companies, organisers of urban agricultural fairs, lease fund for the farmers and deputies of local Legislative Assemblies, included in group of support of the agricultural producers and processors and representatives of large church communities in the gardening settlements

Even involving/attracting representatives of political organisations and movements' into the development of UA action plans is very important, because some of UPA's wishes and needs can be elements of political declarations and programs. Unions of gardeners might be associated members of political/ public movement if latter support UA objectives

What is the recommended approach to follow in the planning of policies and action programmers regarding UPA, health and environment? What steps should be followed? Which methodologies are recommended?

Usually gardeners are talking about problems to Chairman of their units (community garden, dacha co-operatives and so on) in reception day or on year meeting, then the chairmen reports it on Union of Gardeners' group meeting or in a meeting in the Office for the Development of Horticulture and Gardening. The officials of this Office will then analyse the problems and prepare possible project of decision that will be discussed again with the chairmen. After agreement papers (draft decision) goes to Governor table for final decision as decree or Order.
.The officials consider such way of decision-making and policy planning enough operative and reasonable for all interested persons, the gardeners do not express protest again this system yet, feeling themselves more or less satisfied .May be this bottom-up system needs round table on discussion stage with other institutions interested in urban planning: landscape designers, environmentalists, agriculture marketplace, owners and organisers

Warm regards, thank you all participants and moderator for useful contributions

Oleg Moldakov
Soil Scientist, Researcher on Urban Agriculture St-Petersburg Urban Gardening Club, Russia