In modern reality, a change in policy making is required in order to safeguard the quality of life in the urban environment, the increase of urban green, but also for the enhancement of the connection between the urban population and the urban green. This connection can be reinforced with the integration of farming activities from citizens within the urban ecosystem. Even though such activities are acknowledged as basic drivers in participatory Eco-innovation, in our country an “integration gap” exists in the introduction of relative actions that promote sustainable development policies. There are multiple benefits from the integration of urban farming in urban spatial planning. More specifically, in the social level, such actions can reinforce social cohesion, networking and solidarity among citizens, will in parallel they constitute a strong stimulant in the promotion of participatory perception. In addition, urban farming connects modern citizens with the nature and the environment in the core of urban areas, while the cultivation of land offers a great exercising opportunity with beneficial physical and mental effects, thus improving the quality of physical and mental health of society as a whole. Moreover, the citizen engagement with primary organic farming is a source of supply of high-quality products for own consumption or to support initiatives such as social groceries. Similarly, at the financial level, the contribution can be significant, and in many cases, even critical (especially to low-income citizens), as through their involvement there is a financial benefit by limiting the expenses required for daily subsistence. At the environmental level, beyond the fact that the ecological awareness of the citizens is increased (especially in small ages with examples of urban gardens in schools), similar activities in urban centers contribute to the decrease of the carbon footprint though the promotion of green supply chains. In the context of the project, the development of an information system, towards enhancing urban farming in Greece, is proposed.
The focus of this information system is on the following:
- Good practices of urban farming activity at international level
- Urban space specifications for the development of farming activities by citizens.
- Development of an information system for monitoring urban farming activity.
- Pilot application for monitoring areas suitable for urban cultural activity (e.g. municipal urban vegetable gardens, green areas in schools).
- Data collection for utilities and availability of local products.
- Practical advice to citizens/farmers and generation of educational material in the form of manuals and audio-visual material.
- Guidelines for environmental policy-making to promote urban farming