The first meeting of the CityZen Beja/CIMBAL stakeholder group was held on January 29th, 2020.
Invitations to join the group of key stakeholders and attend the first get-together meeting were sent to stakeholders with interest and experience in urban farming, resource efficiency and green innovation. The invitees featured representatives of CCDR Alentejo, CM Beja, Politécnico de Beja, EDIAS, Associação de freguesias, CIMBAL.

Flávia Duarte presented the CityZen initiative and main objectives to set the ground for the meeting and the group interaction. Special appreciation was given to the role of the stakeholder group in CityZen and to discuss the problems and priorities that the region faces at the level of urban gardens. The subsequent discussion focused on interesting aspects of characterization of the region such as good practices and a SWOT analysis took place.

As one good practice developed by the municipality of Beja, Santo Amaro’s market was highlighted, where farmers have been approved to go to the market to sell their products, as one of the region's priorities to support small farmers. The SWOT analysis of the region, where strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities were discussed, main topics like the licensing on the use of urban green spaces and on the urban demand for land were identified.

The participants agreed that urban farming can significantly contribute to improving the sustainability and prosperity of cities and regions. Urban agriculture has yet to be clearly defined in legislation, which will enable the much needed customisation of the regulation in this policy area. Once these necessary preconditions are met, it will be much easier to tackle the most important practical challenges, such as access to municipal lands and open spaces to be used for urban gardening, and various ways of support for scaling up and business development.

CityZen was perceived as an interesting project and the stakeholders were motivated to participate actively in the projects’ activities and results.

Picture credit: CIMBAL