Urban agriculture at the centre of cooperation on both shores of the Mediterranean
The border between urban and rural areas is gradually disappearing. Cities are becoming more sustainable, which implies, among other ideas, increasing dedicated spaces and agricultural production activities in cities.
In 2018, the Interreg MED project MADRE (Metropolises and Sustainable Agriculture for Equitable Relations) launched its interactive web platform Agri-Madre to list the different actors, projects, resources and events on metropolitan agriculture in the Mediterranean in 6 metropolises: Barcelona, Montpellier, Marseille, Bologna, Thessaloniki and Tirana, in Albania.
This platform allows to connect actors and territories, either in a virtual way thanks to online interactive tools, or in a physical way during international events. Rooftop greenhouses, organic agricultural markets, agro-ecological farm on the outskirts of Tirana: the projects are numerous and varied.
In this way, a transnational network has been created aiming at spreading the concept and strengthening innovation in metropolitan agriculture.
Each project partner, from each of these six metropolises, was first of all asked to carry out a survey of the structures in its territory, in order to share metropolitan agricultural projects deemed innovative. These projects were gathered in a Catalogue of Good Practices in Metropolitan Agriculture.
The creation of urban vegetable gardens is not the only practice. The challenges of urban agriculture go far beyond that. These activities must be seen as a means of including vulnerable urban populations; but also as a way to develop and strengthen distribution channels for fresh produce nearby, at more accessible prices, and to boost local employment, among other benefits.
The project partners believe that it could be relevant to extend the work carried out in the six metropolises to the whole Mediterranean territory, including the southern shore. Perhaps this will be made possible by the Union for the Mediterranean's labelling of the Green Growth Community to which the project belongs.