The development of the action plan ‘Developing Cultural Landscape. Strengthen agriculture. Experience the Regionalpark’ within the framework of the EU-Interreg project CityZen is taking shape. Together with the RhineMain Regionalpark (RP), the Institute for Rural Development Research (IfLS) has hosted the second of three focus groups on regional urban agriculture on December 9th, 2020: 'Alternative agricultural models, new initiatives and cooperations'.

Experts from regional initiatives, farms and authorities discussed how the appreciation of agricultural production (and products) among consumers and politicians can be increased, and how possible synergies between the initiatives and the RP’s goals and activities can be expanded.

According to the participants, the low appreciation of agriculture is due to a lack of projects and initiatives that connect farmers and their work and products with consumers; the increasing loss of land for farmers (e.g. through construction); and the lack of alliances among activists. To counteract this, there is a need for educational activities around gardening and agriculture for the population, more alliances among farmers for better political representation and a common project platform for better visibility.

First ideas for cooperation projects between initiatives and the RP in the areas of education and land availability were developed, e.g. the creation of an interactive map (crowd mapping) showing potential areas for urban gardening. In the coming months, the results of all focus groups will be concretized in order to develop cooperation projects with added value for the RhineMain region.

Picture credit: C. Mathias, IfLS