Edible Park is an innovative model of multi-functional farm in periurban area, producing food with low environmental impact and stimulating societal engagement.
Edible Park is an innovative concept aiming to strengthen the integration of farming activity within the local socio-economic context. It is based on a renewed interest in agroforestry systems as sustainable production model and bring to local consumers high quality food products while stimulating societal engagement in the farming activity and considerably reducing environmental impact.
PARCO COMMESTIBILE was set up and managed by the Operational Group (OG) named "peri-urban horticulture and agroforestry"(a temporary consortium made by research bodies and SMEs), financed by Measure 16 of the RDP Emilia-Romagna.
Test area: a plot of one hectare in a peri-urban area owned by the Municipality of Reggio Emilia.
80 mulberry trees (agroforestry) to rebuild the traditional rural landscape (+ C sink, biodiversity) have been planted.
Organic vegetables between trees were grown by disadvantaged workers of a social cooperative. Also new short supply chain models were tested, by selling the branded “Edible Park” products (including soup preparations), such as the direct selling at Edible Park once a week, through a local REKO group and finally creating a specific corner at a local nearby supermarket.
Overall costs of the innovation project: € 272.757,98 of which 70% has been financed by RDP: (€ 190.961,59).
Evidence of success
1) Improvement of the environmental condition of the area. Reduction of the release of nutrients and pesticides to water bodies, insertion of pollinating insects (honey bees), reduction of average nitrate values in soil retention waters;
2) Short supply chain developed and marketing channels tested;
3) Social sustainability: actions aimed at ethical and social sustainability with the inclusion of disadvantaged workers and educational/recreational initiatives in the park.
Some elements for further improvement and fine-tuning of the original concept:
- the need of enhanced infrastructures (improvement of logistic, commercial and social connections)
- searching for a wider involvement of the citizens and other value chain actors in the governance and development.
Potential for learning or transfer
- small scalable model (1 hectare) that could be replicated in other areas (also of the same city)
- modular development (actors and functions could be added during the development process)
- key actors to be involved: local P.A., a research organization, a farmer, a social enterprise
- governance and organizational model can be adapted to the local context
- Several materials are already available, also in English.