Promoting the valorisation of urban farming through financial and environmental balance, land use, use of spaces, cultural conservation and awareness.
Beja is a rural municipality linked to agriculture, where many families make their living from it. The good practice "Urban Farming in Beja" consists of supporting and involving citizens in the access to community urban agriculture through the allocation of small plots of land initially intended as green areas and their transformation into gardens, within the urban perimeter of the city, to families who tend to be economically deprived.
The good practice aims to guarantee eco-sustainability and self-subsistence through the involvement of the community in the production of organic products.
In this sense, the project promotes:
- urban agricultural production as a community approach;
- natural ecosystems resulting in obtaining quality food quickly, safely and economically
- the increase of value to the family income;
- areas of interest for leisure and social cohesion.
In cooperation with other local entities with extensive experience in urban/rural agriculture, the Municipality of Beja intends to elaborate a document aggregating territorial development policies, from a regulatory point of view, to sustain the growth of Urban Gardens in the city of Beja, improving their applicability from a sustainable point of view, through the improvement of resources, social responses and cultural preservation/reinforcement.
The resources allocated to the project came from the municipality's staff who created a dedicated support structure.
Specific knowledge and mutual learning were also obtained between citizens and municipality staff.
138 parcels have been made available since 2012 until now with a monthly fee of 5€
Evidence of success
The project was a success with all 138 plots having registrations.
The plots allocated give a sense of belonging and help minimising negative impacts from economic crises and food price increases because people can produce their own goods.
The project also includes the marketing component for surplus products and the creation of partnerships that benefit producers, enhance competitiveness and creates income. A study on the state of the market (kind of consumers, foresight) will be carried out.
The main challenge was to develop a document aggregating territorial development policies, from a regulatory point of view, to sustain the growth of urban gardens. This document allowed to regulate the use and access to the plots also being the framework for future endeavours in the municipality.
Potential for learning or transfer
The project integrates a set of green spaces that allow obtaining quality food quickly, safely and economically. This project involved citizens from all over the municipality of Beja and contributed to add value to family income and create an interesting space for leisure and social cohesion.
With crises like COVID-19 or increasing food prices, this is a way to remain independent from global food markets and supply chains.
This project was extended to three more rural parishes. This activity is important for the financial balance of families and has a strong contribution to the environmental balance, through land use, use of spaces and cultural conservation.
The municipality has worked with other local entities with experience in urban/rural farming to prepare a document aggregating territorial development policies, improving the applicability of this project from a sustainable point of view, through the improvement of resources, social responses, and cultural preservation.