Regenerative Urban Farming

Candidate ID

  • Institution : Cascais Ambiente
  • City : Cascais
  • Country : Portugal
  • Type of region : More developed

I am looking for

  • Project Partners

Cascais is a city in the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon where most of the food comes from outside of its perimeter, making it very dependent on food supply from the rural area. At the same time, the demand for quality, organic products is very high, with a big opportunity to improve this local market. Since 2009, the citycouncil has been developing an urban agriculture program that encompasses communitarian gardens, orchards and wineyards, vegetable schools gardens and bigger scale farms that brings fresh organic vegetables and fruits to the local market, all managed by the citycouncil. Our goal is to promote the establishment of new professional urban farmers that could produce a part of the fruits and vegetables needed to feed our population.

The interest of its inhabitants for food production, may it be for leisure or other purposes, is quite high, as shown by the 1900 people in waiting list for the community gardens. At the same time, we have been seing cities around the world fullfiling their vacant spaces with vegetable gardens which purpose is to produce fresh organic products to sell in the local markets. They're called market gardens and has become the new business for young urban farmers. It's a promising trend that helps cities improving their food sovereignity, whilst creating new green jobs.

Climate change and the high costs of energy are pushing cities to produce locally, which brings new challenges for policy makers in how to design policies that are aligned with these needs. Firstly, it is necessary to guarantee the access to arable land, a big challenge specially where the urban pressure is enourmous. The land is often protected from construction by national legislation but, often, owners prefer to leave their lands vacant and misused with the hope that one day the legislation changes and they're allowed to build. It is urgent to give owners the confidence to borrow land for food production, making sure they can sell it after the contract ends. Secondly, we need to support those who want to start farming in the city, by sharing resources and costs, exchange knowledge and helping them selling their products. There is still no real food policy in the municipal level to adress this opportunities. Nevertheless, it is a political will to promote local organic production. Together with the other cities in the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon, we have compromised to produce 15% of the food needed inside this area till 2030. To achieve this goal, Cascais is compromised with creating new spaces for food production with new coming like Hortas Ninho - an incubator for urban farmers -, and Cascais Circular - a new farm with around 50ha inside a prison.

We are looking for partners to walk this path alongside, exchange knowledge and help each other creating better food policies for all.