Subject:UPA-Planning/session3 Contribution from Mona Chhabra
I have been trying to keep up with the steady flow of contributions in the conference and was beginning to wonder like Chambers. ...'whose reality?...where do the people - men and women come in? Drawing from Joseph Batacs email, I would take this opportunity to introduce our work on Strategic Environmental Planning and Management (EPM)of the Peri-urban Interface (PUI). As a part of this project, research has been conducted to identify key components and principles of a workable strategic approach to planning and managing environmental dimensions of the rural-urban interface in the developing world which will benefit the poor. We are advocating a Strategic - long term outlook rather than short term and a process approach to EPM especially considering the complex- ever changing nature of the PUI. As is obvious, the research has a clear focus on the livelihoods of the poor and sustainability of the natural resource base in the PUI. In the project, besides other lessons, we have learnt that over and above the hardware of GIS and other systems, it is crucial to use human software such as the analytical frameworks that research produces to be able to think strategically while being realistic. In the PUI project we have used DfIDs Sustainable Livelihoods Framework and the web of Relationships as tools for diagnosis and also for guiding the Strategic approach for EPM for the PUI. These tools have provided a link between the most basic of realities to the seemingly impenetrable spheres such as policy. The web of relationships has helped inform about the possible synergies and existing relationships that can be built upon for the EPM Process. And now a quick word about the project- The research on Strategic EPM of the PUI began with reviews of current knowledge among practitioners and researchers, drawing heavily from literature and the Internet. Particular attention was given to new knowledge of unprecedented depth on the peri-urban interfaces of Kumasi,
Ghana and Hubli-Dharwad, India created by major research projects of another research programme funded by the DfID of the British Government aimed at improved management of natural resources. These efforts produced a clarification of concepts and issues of the peri-urban interface which were relevant to environmental planning and management and to delivering benefit to the poor. More importantly, they have provided lessons and thinking from which strategic principles and components could be extracted. The principles and components assembled were evaluated for their capacities to formulate and operationalise pro-poor environmental policies and strategies for the peri-urban interface. Those most important have been synthesised into a framework for strategic environmental planning of peri-urban areas to benefit the poor. Using workshops conducted with local collaborators, the appropriateness and practicality of this framework has been assessed in the circumstances of six city-regions: Kumasi in Ghana, Hubli-Dharwad and Chennai in India, Manizales in Colombia, Curitiba in Brazil, and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. These workshops involved a cross-section of key actors and stakeholders.
The project is making final assessments and revisions of the framework. The next steps are to formulate and execute a strategy for dissemination of knowledge of the final framework of principles and components for strategic environmental planning and management (EPM)of the peri-urban interface to benefit the poor. Formulation of these guidelines was prompted by the increasing recognition that urban and rural links are neglected in development practice. Nowhere is this more obvious than in environmental management, where cities and towns pursue activities and policies which severely alter aspects of their rural and natural surroundings. The processes of change involved create major problems for countless urban and rural lives, affecting those who are poor particularly strongly. They also produce major opportunities for urban development - such as the use of sink capacities to absorb wastes - and for rural households - such as the healthier environment made possible by access to piped water. The research has distinguished qualities which characterise the peri-urban interface in developing countries. The guidelines have been formulated to respond to these: the changing and scattered locations affected by the meeting of urban and rural activities; the changing composition of the populations suffering and enjoying these effects; the absence of institutional structures able to negotiate fairly the competition for natural, financial and human resources involved in both the activities and the environmental planning and management they spur; and the poverty created or deepened by the destruction of livelihoods and living conditions as urban activities expand into the countryside. The guidelines focus on processes. Chief among these are processes to bring the benefits of environmental planning and management to those who are poor. These are concerned to identify the poor affected by the changes brought by the peri-urban interface, obtain knowledge of their livelihoods and the changes wrought to these livelihoods, and to involve the poor and the champions of their interests in that decision making which chooses the problems and opportunities to be managed, the ways they are managed, and the distribution of costs and benefits. However, much attention is also given to processes which help actors and stakeholders recognise the peri-urban interface, how it is affecting aspects of the environment, and the possibilities for collaboration to better manage the consequences. More information on the different stages of the project is available on the project's website: www.ucl.ac.uk/dpu/pui.
obviously everybody is apologizing that he/ she can not contribute as much as it is desired. Please include me in this group as well!
I ' d like to come back to the questions for this session. Let me take once more the chance to point on Dar es Salaam, Tanzania before this conference comes to an end.
I hope these contributions are useful. Any feedback is highly appreciated.
I must say I have been following the discussions on all the topics. I would like to state that I had some technical problem with my service provider. Hence the silence.
Urban agriculture in Lusaka dates back to the 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. Some of the topic include:
· Bowa et al 1979 The Gardening in the city. · Jaeguer et al (1986) The Garden city of Lusaka: · Rakodi Carol (1985) Self reliance or survival? Food production in African cities with particular reference to Lusaka · Sanyal B (1987) Urban Agriculture: A strategy for survival · Drescher A. W. (1994) Urban agriculture in the seasonal tropics of central Africa - A case study of Lusaka/Zambia · Drescher A. W. (1997) Management Strategies in African Home gardens and the need for new extension approaches. · Drescher A. W. (1998) Urban Microfarming Southern Africa - Opportunities and Constraints. · Drescher A. W. and P Muwowo (1999) Environmental Problems and Gardening in Urban and Peri-Urban areas of Lusaka In Insight-Lusaka city News. · Drescher A W (1999) Gardening on Garbage Opportunity or Threat?
Note: I cannot write more details because I am using Dial up network.
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 ment 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 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.
Re: UPA-Planning/session3 second contribution from Paul Muwowo
Subject: Reaction to the moderators comments for session 3
Please note that the answers in this reply refer to Lusaka Zambia. * Which stakeholders should be involved in the development of a plan that includes UPA? ANSWER: The selection of stakeholders to be involved in the planning will depend on many things. In Lusaka, The following organisations and groups will be needed in the planning: Lusaka city Council District Agricultural office Lusaka District District Administrator - Lusaka University of Zambia - School of Agricultural Sciences Institute of Economic and Social Research Africare Care International Catholic Commission for Peace and Justice Ministry of Lands Ministry of Local Government and Housing Ministry of Community Development and Social welfare Zambia National Farmers union Swedish Co-operative Center Ministry of Agriculture Food and Fisheries Dept. of Field Services and Dept of Policy and Planning Agricultural Consultative forum Food Reserve Agency Sustainable Lusaka Programme (UNDP Supported Project) Urban Farmers The above mentioned organisation/individuals constitute some of the major players to be included in the stakeholder planning session. This connects to the question: How to modify efficiently the traditional hierarchical systems of city management? If we try to plan decentralized, participatory and on a people-based decision system: who are the stakeholders and how to mobilize them ? ANSWER: In my view, The cities of the world are different and the cultures are different. The best way to modify and how to come up with solutions can be through a workshop where different issues can be discussed through plenary sessions, group discussion and group presentations etc etc. Otherwise choosing tool as it were may not be correct. In some cases if the tool is predetermined, other stakeholders may cry foil or may not commit themselves to the action plan. I must also say stakeholders to this meeting/workshop/conference should be open minded. The second question: * Which planning principles should apply, to integrate UPA into city planning? THIS HAS BEEN ANSWERED ABOVE. is closely related to the second cited sentence of the panos briefing above and poses the next questions: are planners in the South aware of parallel planning systems ? ANSWER: Not only are planners aware of the parallel system are constantly trying to solve problems left by the colonial administrators. Lusaka Developed from a Village called Lusaaka of Chief Lusaaka. This therefore clearly indicates that there was at one time a traditional administration in place. As time went by the place was chosen to be the capital of Zambia by the white settlers. These settlers had their own plan of the town. when the planned city was growing the people were also building their shelters which were later classified as Squatter compounds/unplanned settlement and other variant names. After independence some of these places were upgraded to site and services (Councils legalized them and provided services such as water, electricity and roads). What are the conflicts resulting from this and how can solutions be mediated. ANSWER: In Zambia, there is a lands tribunal and the arbitration court. These institutions also mediate in some conflicts. How can major stakeholders like the urban farmers themselves be involved in planning processes - what steps to go? In my view I feel That including the farmers as part of the group to discuss the way forward is the only way forward. Thank you for reading through
Marielle Dubbeling message of 22 Sept on the development of a specific project on integration of UPA into land use and urban planning is of great interest to me. My interest is projects in Small Island Developing States (SIDS). I am the coordinator of the Integrated Bio-Systems Network (http://www.ias.unu.edu/proceedings/icibs/ibs/ibsnet) which also has a strong focus on agriculture (including urban agriculture). IBSnet also covers topics related waste utilisation and management in agro-industries, indoor eco-habitats, and sustainable forestry (including urban forestry). As a general observation, there is a stronger focus on the poorer urban community and urban agriculture. Activities are also limited e.g. to making composts, growing crops and livestock for food and cash. Much of it is conducted on an individual basis. The IBSnet has taken at least a step ahead into coordinated efforts. A case effort is the future project in Samoa (South Pacific). see http://www.ias.unu.edu/proceedings/icibs/ibs/info/samoa/ecofarm. Briefly, the Department of Lands, Surveys and Environment of the Government of Samoa will provide 10 hectares of peri-urban land to establish an ECO-FARM. Through different IBS models, it will demonstrate how land, rainwater, wastewater, solid wastes, agricultural wastes, agro-industrial wastes (brewery and coconut industry) can be used efficiently and will convert wastes into intermediate and final products (livestock, crops, mushrooms, compost, vermiculture, biogas, etc) via biological systems. We are at the stage of developing projects for submission to funding agencies and welcome partners who are interested to jointly apply for funds and willing to work in Samoa. IBSnet members represent 72 countries. What would also be interesting is to develop comparative studies with those in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as others.
Jacky Foo (IBSnet)
Partner in ECO-FARM Project, Samoa http://www.ias.unu.edu/proceedings/icibs/ibs/info/samoa/ecofarm (offline: 27-30 Sept).
Re: UPA-Planning/session3 Contribution from Joseph Batac
Here is my contribution to the third and final session of this conference: A. WHICH STAKEHOLDERS SHOULD BE INVOLVED IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF A PLAN THAT INCLUDES UPA? Based on my experience here in Marilao (The Philippines), the political leadership had been high on the list. The level of interest of this stakeholder had been directly related to political will. This political will harnessed the organizational, material and financial resources of the local government unit from conceptualization, planning, implementation, monitoring to evaluation. The resources for these activities defined the breadth and depth of UPA. The political will for UPA happened as a result the outputs of the solid waste management project - community groups had been mobilized for household level segregation, the production of the compost and the application of the compost for UPA, currently and specifically focused on growing crops to correct micronutrient malnutrition as well as for urban renewal (potted flowers and ornamentals). Equally, I would say that the households had been another primary stakeholder in planning UPA. UPA made sense and had been acceptable since it has been related as one of the result of the solid waste management activity. I wish to think that UPA in Marilao had been planned in a pro-active fashion since we generate the compost on a daily basis in as much as the generation of the biodegradable waste from households is also collected periodically. The interface between the political leaders and the households, through their association, had been formalized into local resource planning processes for UPA within the existing legal framework of decentralization and devolution.
A.1 HOW TO MODIFY EFFICIENTLY THE TRADITIONAL HIERARCHICAL SYSTEMS OF CITY MANAGEMENT? As mentioned, the involvement of Marilao in UPA came as a result of the solid waste management project. In the Philippines, the tasks of solid waste and agriculture had been the functions of municipal local government for the last nine years. In order to deliver these functions, Marilao went beyond the traditional and predominant collect-and-dump practice in solid waste and the low-technology and land intensive agriculture. The link to change the two had been the compost that comes from biodegradable household waste. The practice of household level segregation had been installed and supported by a predictable and reliable collection system. The installation process involved the local government and the NGOs extending at least eight sets of community group interfaces over a two year period. In all of them, the mayor served as the champion. As champion, he sought for household level action on segregation as a good behavior that contributed to minimal waste to be disposed in the dump thus saving on space since Marilao has a small land area. For UPA, his messages for the poor had been along the philosophy to "know how to fish, instead of being given the fish." As champion, he included the household associations and urban poor in the annual planning processes in order to identify the capital and operational investment within the solid waste/UPA continuum.
Thus, solid waste had served as one entry point to UPA and over time gave us the chance "to modify efficiently the traditional hierarachical system of city management." Solid waste/UPA capital investments by the municipality had been complemented by those of the NGOs and the smallest local government unit, the barangay. Note that the more active NGOs of the last four years had been new urban settlers who work in Metro Manila (only five kilometers away). These settlers are only too glad to segregate their waste given a more predictable and reliable collection system and/or, in the case of the urban poor, grow vegetables as food supplement in potted compost media (provided by the project). Where once capital investment of the municipality had traditionally and predominantly included roads and similar infrastructure, Marilao was able to change this with a larger share within the solid waste-to-UPA continuum. This happened due to community involvement in decision making. Where once the decision making processes for local resources where confined to a close circle of political leaders and their supporters, Marilao's investment plans and the organizational responsiveness of the local government in the implementation of these plans are reflective of the content of the different consensus building exercises with community groups. Where once local plans only considered projects that responds to basic services, Marilao is increasingly becoming conscious of understanding and in some cases qualifying and quantifying the impact of the plan on ecological balance and local economic development. A.2 IF WE TRY TO PLAN DECENTRALIZED, PARTICIPATORY AND ON A PEOPLE-BASED DECISION SYSTEM: WHO ARE THE STAKEHOLDERS AND HOW TO MOBILIZED THEM? I hope I had been clear during the duration of my involvement in the conference that Marilao is already practicing this multi-sectoral participatory decision making system given the reality of decentralization and devolution (both in powers and financial resources) in the Philippines. Both the NGOs and the municipal leadership used this democratic space to push forward the agenda of solid waste/UPA. Community mobilization happened because we use the tool of social marketing (within the concept of change in knowledge, attitude and practices) in different modes on interfaces. These include television, audio, print, cross visits, workshops, brainstorming sessions and model showcasing. In terms of mobilizing them, one should consider a municipal mayor who is open to such an idea as people's participation. Otherwise, there maybe a need for a strong civil society who can push the twin agenda of solid waste/UPA. With our knowledge that household waste is one of the best source of the major material for UPA (the compost as soil or media), the household associations had been our primary stakeholders. As time went by, we started to involved the urban poor in terms of the municipality providing the collection service for their solid waste and as target clientele for UPA. In Marilao, these are the transportation workers, the laborers and the out-of-school-and-unemployed youth. On reflection, our experience may reveal that solid waste/UPA was undertaken in response to an environmental problem. It is one of the situation at the moment. In the enrichment of this truth, the community has the courage to discuss and think through the issue of liquid waste and sewerage as additional inputs into UPA. B. WHICH PLANNING PRINCIPLES SHOULD APPLY, TO INTEGRATE UPA INTO CITY PLANNING? The first planning principle that is also a guiding truth for us in Marilao is "to see is to belive." Early on, most of the capital investment of the municipality, the barangay and civil society had been in showcasing numerous small good practices. We, the municipal leaders and the NGOs, learn from these good practices. From these learnings, we planned the next step - scale up the practice.
A good example is on the solid waste project. We started segregation in five households, then one street, then five streets, then one housing area, then severla housing areas, then one barangay, then contiguous barangays. The same scale-up principle is now being applied to UPA, starting with, again, five households, then 10, then 20...until we reach a critical mass (maybe in two to three years). When one does scaling, one needs to have some plan on the level of scales after a period of time in order to guide the level of investment of the municipality, the barangay and the NGOs. The third principle is to be consistent and stay focus on the provision of service. I mean here that for municipal local government, stay focus on service delivery. For Marilao, it was very tempting to put the compost into commercial business. But the community and the leadership thought this to be just short term. There is resulting thinking that the compost can be utilized as another inputs for a service. This thinking gave birth to UPA. Further thinking refined and focus UPA - that of growing vegetables to supplement micronutrient malnutrition as well as urban renewal (increase greeneries with potted flowers and other ornamentals).
Please note that in Marilao, all of these principles work within the idea of pursuit of genuine local autonomy where the people define the problem, analyse them, formulate strategies and install programs and activities to address the problem. B.1 ARE PLANNERS IN THE SOUTH AWARE OF PARALLEL PLANNING SYSTEMS? I am not so sure I understand this question fully. But let me try and answer them in my mind set and context. At least for Marilao, this is a Yes. I can think to two examples. The one big obstacle is the cost of these planning system. A good example is a system that have GIS as a tool for land use planning. Most municipalities in the Philippines cannot afford to have this system due to the perceived prohibitive cost for the investment, the technical skills, and the maintenance of such a system. Since Marilao cannot afford this, we worked on what we do best - gather together, make inputs, plan and arrive at consensus on small doable actions. We design these gatherings to be sessions of changing mind-sets to come out with new practices and doable actions. While we were made to appreciate that GIS will provide more technical understanding of our situation and thereby make the process less prone to traditional politicking or inaccurate decisions, the supply for this technology is still confined to big time consultancy firms who, in most cases, does not have a clear understanding of the multiple needs of local government and the communities thereat. Relatedly, land use planning in the Philippines is quite a technically driven task requiring high priced consultants who, again in most cases, cannot translate or relate to the reality of planning involving community interfaces. Another example is to plan the investment based on the acquisition of fixed assets. Marilao had numerous offers for highly automated composting facility that cost a fortune. While this will definitely improve the composting process, most of them are offered without consideration of the type of biodegradable waste and to have operating conditions in a tropical country. For Marilao, such a high capital investment for solid waste/UPA facilities, including machinery and equipment comes with high knowledge content that still has to be localized. Marilao has yet to see and hear an agent of such a facility listen first and investigate, before coming up with a design reflective of something that build on what is already in place. In addition to these two examples, let me share some inputs on local development planning in the Philippines. Before the decentralization and devolution, this had been done by technical personnel within the confines of their room and utilizing the reference materials produced by the academic community if not the national planning agencies. With the devolution came the mandatory consultative processes for local development planning. Reconciling the inputs from people's participation with that of the technical guidebook has only started to happen in areas where there is a strong NGO presence (with open mind for cooperation with local government) and/or a leader who appreciate and understand the need for involvement of civil society. Add to this burden of change the GIS tools that will have to be used to enrich the understanding of development by a broad spectrum of stakeholders. These are challenging times for local development planners in the Philippines. Perhaps, there is also the need for the question: are planners in the north aware of these processes? Do they appreciate these processes that can speel the difference on sustainability, impact and long term enrichment of the spirit of innovations? B.2 WHAT ARE THE CONFLICTS RESULTING FROM THIS AND HOW CAN SOLUTIONS BE MEDIATED? Planning for solid waste/UPA involves predominantly local actions initiated voluntarily by local folks rooted on community spirit and sense of ownership. Those who seek to make interventions from outside should consider respecting and working with local champions. Those communities who wish to go into solid waste/UPA should always think that they will be in this process over a much longer period of time. It took us one year "know" the character of our waste and plan thereto, another two years to install the segregated waste collection and another for the scale-up at the same time start UPA. Within that time, outside assistance had worked silently behind the scene, supporting the champions, ever conscious of the social and cultural dynamics of the community rather than drive the process in prodominant terms based on their technical expertise. Developing local champions endears spontaneous community actions that tend to contribute to stronger and sustainable local organizations. B.3 HOW CAN MAJOR STAKEHOLDERS LIKE THE URBAN FARMERS THEMSELVES BE INVOLVED IN PLANNING PROCESSES- WHAT STEPS TO GO? As you can tell, the urban farmers in Marilao were not intensively involved in the planning and implementation processes in the last five. I can think of major two reasons for this based on the numerous community interfaces. The first is simply, given that most of them are in their early sixties, old habits die hard (or you cannot teach old ones with new ideas?). The second is that these are the folks who are not too comfortable of local government involving them in planning with the recent reality of decentralization and devolution. For most of them, government is there to provide dole-outs. New ideas related to capacity building, change processes and empowerment are new, if not alien to them. Given this, Marilao went to work with urban growers and households to set-up model farms. The farms utilize compost from the solid waste project. One even had a drip irrigation system. Another had rain shelters for off-season crops. Still another had netting structures, also for off-season crops. All use locally available materials. In addition to the one in the backyard, model farms were put up in the open spaces of housing areas, the riverbanks, and even in the road easements. Recently, the urban farmers had a cross visit to these model farms. Although still skeptical, most requested that replication be done in a small area of their own farm. There are trial runs. The replication had been slow but surely. They involve higher value crops and in some cases growing during off-season for price/profit considerations. In the current investment planning processes, these urban farmers had started to be involved after getting excited on the potentials of UPA. For them, the economic considerations does matter more than the environment.
Now. when this interesting conference soon will come to the end, I will take the chance and recommend "Permaculture" as a fruitful way of thinking, designing and acting for food production in urban and peri-urban areas (as well as in the countryside). I am sure that many of you already know about it, but for those who do not, I will shortly tell you a little about it. I think that when looking for stake-holders it is important for planners and others to identify and use the knowledge and engagement with groups like these. The concept of "Permaculture" was evolved by Bill Molison and David Holmgren at the University of Tasmania in the 1970'es. It is a framework for a sustainable agricultural system based on a multi-crop of perennial trees, shrubs, herbs (vegetables and weeds), fungi and root systems. It developed as a design system which combined architecture with biology, agriculture with forestry, and forestry with animal husbandry where the principles from natural, ecological systems are used. From the beginning "Permaculture" meant a beneficial assembly of plants and animals in relation to human settlements, mostly aimed towards household and community self-reliance. Successively it has developed as a design method, which includes as well appropriate legal and financial strategies, including strategies for land access, business structures, and regional self-financing. It is a whole human design system. Today there is a global network of people, organised in the Permaculture Association. The activities of the local and regional groups around the world differ according to the economical and biological conditions of the country and whether it is working in rural or urban areas. One of the most interesting activities based on the "Permaculture" philosophy, which I have met, is in the district of Teyateyaneng in Lesotho. It is food production on the schoolyards, both in peri-urban and rural areas. The activity started about eight years ago by a teacher, Molly Lethela, who realised that many of the children who came to the school could not concentrate and do well because of bad nutrition. So she decided to try to achieve a meal of food for them every day. To afford that, she had to start growing vegetables on the schoolyard. Then she came into contact with the "Permaculture" ideas from a person in Botswana, who inspired her to developed an integrated food producing system with chickens, pigs, vegetables and fruits and to use water saving systems and constructions to collect rainwater. Many parents became involved and they even helped the school to keep some cows. The idea spread to other schools in the district, and Molly Lethela and her group traveled around and teached other school people how to do. Even the government of Lesotho started to become interested. I first met Molly on a "Permaculture" conference in Copenhagen in Denmark in 1994, and in 1998 I visited her in Lesotho. Then it had not rained for three months and most of the fields in the countryside were brown. But the schoolyards and Mollys own garden were green because of the watersaving methods and the integrated growing systems. In Port Elizabeth in South Africa, were I worked for a short time in 1998 with urban agriculture in connection to a comprehensive urban plan, I saw many schoolyards were the parents were growing vegetables. The schoolyards often have fences and lots of space, which the schools cannot afford to use as sports fields even if they would like to, so the parents can have it. I also met some people there who had heard about "Permaculture" and were interested to learn more about it. In Sweden and the other Scandinavian countries, "Permaculture" mostly is a sort of ideology for people who want to change the prevailing wasteful lifestyle into a more responsible and sustainable one by reducing the use of energy and other resources by local ecological food production in urban areas as well as in the countryside. In Copenhagen in Denmark, the local "Permaculture Association" has designed a food garden on a rented piece of land outside the city, and has organised a group of unemployed urban dwellers, who go there regularly by a common bus and grow vegetables. This association also work with design ideas to develop cooperation between cities and the countryside, as a city alone never can be sustainable in itself. Specially for people in developing countries, I think "Permaculture" really can mean a lot for bettering the living conditions and in the long run for survival as it combines very practical ecological methods of intensive growing, collecting and saving water etc with a deep conciousness oflong-term responsibility of life on earth. Those who do not already know about "Permaculture" can read "Introduction to Permaculture" by Bill Mollison, Tagari Publications, PO Box !, Tyalgum NSW 2484, Australia. Tel (066)79-3442, Fax (066) 79-3567. You can also look for permaculture at Internet, and you will find lots of information.
Best wishes Lena Jarlöv
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.
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
Strategy Coordinated 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: <www.phg.org> 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
Rationale 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 centralized 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:
By regenerating our water and biological Œwastes¹, we can recover abundant nutrients and water that can nourish a school garden or landscape - without need for any purchased fertilizers 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 centralized corporate-based food systems. On the other hand, holistic participatory science can facilitate working in partnership with natural systems and the cooperative 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.
1. SCHOOL COMPOSTING The Sustainable School program starts with composting. Over half of our solid waste can be composted to restore soil. By composting, we reduce the amount of waste thrown away and learn how food waste can be transformed into healthy soil. Starting with a school waste-watch, students investigate the importance of building living soil through compost, investigate forests and soil ecology, and how to maintain a school garden and compost system for hands-on learning. Earthworm composting too!
2. SEED STEWARDS Seed-saving, once an essential skill passed from generation to generation by master farmers, is almost a lost art. Seed Stewards teaches why and how to grow heirloom plants threatened by the globalization of our food system. Activities carry the young gardener through the cycle from seed to seed and highlight the importance of biodiversity for a sustainable farm ecosystem. By saving seeds, young people become stewards of biodiversity, and learn how to bred new varieties that nourish local sustainable food systems.
3. WATER STEWARDS Contamination from agrochemicals is the greatest source of water pollution today. Students investigate how water is cleansed in nature and how to work together for local watershed solutions. State-of-the-art ecological technologies are taught using a Solar Aquatic Garden laboratory developed with www.solaraquatics.com
4. GROW A SUSTAINABLE SCHOOL This teacher workshop examines the history of farming, food systems and technology in western civilization, and look at today¹s global challenges and potential ecological solutions. How can we transform education to create food systems and ecological technologies for a just and sustainable world?
Outcome: Teacher-generated K-12 Sustainable School grade-by-grade garden projects, with an action-plan for implementation, and evaluation and assessment guidelines.
I am Michael Leech, Senior Horticulturist in the Inner West Council of the Durban Metro. Part of my functions is being responsible for Urban Agriculture in this part of this Council.
I am extremely grateful being part of this process as I have learnt a lot even though a little intimidated by the calibre of the participants. With regards to Giulia Abbates contribution I would like to add our experience.
We started using the un-developed "Public Open Space" sites and portions of Green Belt sites to provide for our needs within the municipal boundaries. This is after we got a commitment from our Council to support this process and this policy, goals and objectives are so recorded in the minutes and cannot be changed unless by majority vote. Especially with our second national elections coming up shortly. We even have a clause which requires the Council to give use six months notice and even help us move to another site.
The funding for the development comes from the money we used to keep these properties clean in terms of the health by-laws. The Provincial Recreation Council has also contributed to this work as they recognise urban agriculture as a recreational pursuit.
Within the development plan we have provided for playground equipment for children of the gardeners, as in many of our cases these women are child minders for other women who are working. We also provide for each garden a half ships container with lockable tool racks fitted in as well as fencing material for each site to keep out animals and prevent theft. A water connect is also provided but the gardeners are responsible for the cost of the water.
We have also been able to arrange that all vegetative material cut by the Council in its service delivery is made available to these sites for the manufacture of compost.
Seed and seedlings are provided at cost for each garden through the supplier.
Courses are being run by myself with assistance from community members to train these gardeners in all aspects of gardening. Concentrating on teaching these gardeners to grow enough to feed themselves and sell the rest for profit. Conservation especially in the Green Belt areas is covered so as to prevent erosion and plant protection.
Once again thank you everyone for your contribution.
Subject: Re: UPA-Planning/session3 Contribution from Oliver Ginsberg
Dear participants of the UPA planning group,
I'm happy that Michael Leech has brought up the perspective of children / child minding into the discussion again and also for the contributions of Lena Jarlöv and Elisheva Ruth who nicely point out how urban farming systems and school education are or can be linked together. It is a hard struggle to keep children's needs visible in the discussion. I want to (re)introduce a comprehensive frame of aspects of UPA as far as contributing to sustainable city development. I believe it is vital to keep the diversity of contributions in mind to answer the question of "which stakeholders should be involved in the development of a plan that includes UPA":
a.. Economic services (producing crops and animal stock for sale/processing, providing jobs, income and training)
b.. Environmental services (transformation of organic waste, stabilizing effect on water regimes, providing positive micro climate and air conditioning "green lungs of the city", preservation of biodiversity)
c.. Community building services (offering a neighborhood meeting place, organizing community activities and cultural events, diverse recreational opportunities for all age groups and neighbors from different ethnic backgrounds in culturally diverse environments)
d.. Educational services (In the sense of structured learning about agricultural and ecological themes)
e.. Youth services and play facility (Offering a reliable place for parents to take care of or have their kids be taken care of similar to day care centers, kindergartens etc, but with an emphasis on outdoor and agriculture related activities)
f.. Food / Health services (addressing lack of nutrition or bad nutrition among children and adults, garden or animal based therapeutical work or integrational work with disabled persons)
Involving administrative stakeholders this might mean involving people from the economic, agricultural, green space, waste management, social, youth services, educational as well as health department.
The same goes for involvement of stakeholders in the scientific field, who might be able to contribute research results on general development of UPA as well as positive effects in specific service fields. Scientists from different academic fields may also find a valuable base for future (interdisciplinary) research programmes on a local level.
Of course local urban farmers/ farm projects need to be involved. Small farmers/projects may need support to get organized and have their needs and interests represented in the planning process.
As far as which planning principles should apply, a mixture of both bottom-up as well as top-down procedures is helpful to connect local interests and needs with global aspects, such as environmental soundness. Diversity of agricultural systems and crops involved also appear to be vital to sustainability of UPA. That includes live stock as an important element in the food production and waste management cycle as well as for cultural and educational reasons.
For those who haven't followed the whole conference I attach a paper on "city farming and sustainability from the children's perspective" which is a mildly edited version of a paper submitted to the "People, Land and Sustainability" Conference in Nottingham earlier this month (also available on the following website: http://cityfarmer.org/germanCfarms.html#germanCF )
For those interested in research on European city farms and adventure playgrounds the following website might be worthwhile looking at: http://www.bdja.org/oli/
Dear Participants of the UPA-Planning-Group,
Oliver Ginsberg submitted a paper which will soon be available on the Infomarket http://www.ruaf.org/info_market.html If you would like to receive the paper via email, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (submit paper Ginsberg).
"City farming and sustainability from the children’s perspective" by Oliver Ginsberg, BdJA educational consultant, Berlin
Paper for: „People, Land & Sustainability: New directions in community gardening“, International conference, University of Nottingham, 13th-16th september 2000
Let me first share with you some thoughts on sustainability and what children have to do with it. We all know, that sustainable development is supposed to include social equity, environmental soundness, and economically viability, that it means „meeting our present needs in a way, that doesn’t compromise future generations‘ ability to meet their own needs“. Let us stay with the so-called „future generations“ for a moment and lets call them „children“ to make this abstract term a little more vivid.
Did you know, that within the 500 pages of the "Agenda 21" the world "child" or "children" appears just about 60 times, while the word "government" is used more than 1000 times! This is a first indicator, that perhaps children’s needs aren’t adequately reflected upon, even less met. Can we expect future generations of children to be able to meet their needs, if even today’s children's needs are not well considered? When you study sustainability papers, you will find, that their play needs for example are hardly ever mentioned, nor their need for adequate play provisions within the city. Play deprivation however is one of the major reasons for health problems among children living in cities.
I would like to bring to the attention of the conference, a parallel discussion forum on 'Training Needs in Urban Agriculture' hosted by NRI. A paper on this theme by Sabine Gündel and John Butterworth is available, and a discussion is underway at
But we like to hear from more of our colleagues!
We hope you will contribute to this forum with your views and ideas on training in urban agriculture. It is hoped that with contributors and other partners, the forum will lead to development of programmes to address some of the training development needs that are identified, and we are seeking partners who wish to collaborate in this initiative.
Sabine Gündel and John Butterworth