Was passiert konkret?
…and the harvest goes on:


Are you what you eat? The CITYMAKERS programme believes that food security and safety are part of liveable city making. Our focus group CITY LAND GARDEN FOOD, led by visionary Dr. Pan Tao, brought practitioners from both China and Germany together at the CITYMAKERS Meet-Up 2016 to rethink urban agriculture in city development.

Why should food be of our concern? Food security describes systems and conditions to ensure physical and economic access to food that provides required nutrients to meet dietary needs.

If food security is ensured, citizens have no barriers in pursuing an active and healthy life . International prices for food have been rising worldwide, impacting and raising concerns on the access to food for low-income families in China. In 2007 alone, food prices went up 12.3 percent .

Apart from access, another integral factor to be considered is food safety, describing the quality of the food available in reference to the handling, preparing and storing. According to the World Health Organization, around 600 million people (ca. 1 in 10) fall ill after eating contaminated food and as a consequence, 420.000 die every year.

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqian proclaimed that “[f]ood is essential, and safety should be a top priority. Food safety is closely related to people’s lives and health and economic development and social harmony.” With food scandals alerting both Chinese and German consumers, there is a rising consciousness concerning the general quality of food, especially within the growing middle class in China.

This growing movement needs visionaries to establish an infrastructure and grow a community of city makers who highlight and promote socio-ecological development through urban agricultural projects.

Dr. Pan Tao headed the focus group CITY LAND GARDEN FOOD. Being the founder of Ecoland Club, WeGarden and green Think Tank ISEE, he opened the first “Schrebergarten” (allotment garden) after being inspired by similar projects he saw during his doctorate in Germany. He was supported by Tarek Mohamed Hassan, currently ASApreneur Fellow at CONSTELLATIONS International.

He was joined by Dr. Eva Sternfeld, professor at the Free University of Berlin in Sinology and specializing in Chinese environmental science as well as resource management and environmental history. Dr. Sternfeld had formed bonds with fellow participants even before the programme, visiting Yan Fang Fang in Chengdu. Yan Fang Gang is the founder of the Chengdu Urban Roof Top Farm at Wang Fujing Department Store and a great example of how urban agriculture can be incorporated into sustainable business models.

Visiting urban gardening projects in Berlin, the focus group was lucky to have Marco Clausen from the prestigious “Prinzessinengarten” partake in discussion on the role of education and community for urban agriculture. Gerda Münnich, opening one of the first intercultural garden projects in Berlin, gave insights on what gardening can do to enhance diversity and was backed by Christophe Kotanyi, her colleague and co-founder at the Allmende Kontor at the Tempelhofer Feld. Gregon Von der Wall, a recent graduate in sustainability geography, already opened up his own urban gardening project and helped illustrate what incubating a project entails on the ground.

Some participants already brought Sino-European cooperation expereince to the table. Beatrice Lange, working for Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V., an organization for environmental protection, stressed the importance on advocating on a policy level. Having lived in China before, she brought „glocal“ perspectives, meaning global outlook with local action, into the group.

As did Luise Körner, founder of 2000m2 – Weltacker, an urban gardening project that educates on consumption and sustainability. Realizing an educational project in Southern China, Luise Körner is an example on how global education can be implemented to foster understanding between East and West.

All participants worked jointly across sectors to scout for new ideas, especially benefitting from unexpected impulses, such as Cornelia Pürschel, former fellow in the lecturer programme by the Robert Bosch Foundation and now working on her project in Sino-German cultural understanding. Fan Wenhao, co-founder of Bottle Dream, connects social innovators and provided her knowledge on building a community and new inputs were also given by Sun Menxuan, member of the MINproject, which is committed to rural-urban development.

New challenges lay ahead, with many creative ideas being born during the CITYMAKERS meeting. Scaling up existing projects and fostering a more “glocal” outlook on what urban agriculture means for global food security and safety. Let’s turn these good ideas into great ideas and make them reality!

Data Sources:

  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: Food security: concepts and measurements. URL: http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/y4671e/y4671e06.htm. 09.12.2016.
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 1996. Rome Declaration on World Food Security. URL: http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/w3613e/w3613e00.htm. 09.12.2016.
  • Food Security Portal: China. URL: http://www.foodsecurityportal.org/china/. 09.12.2016.
  • University Of Maryland, Medical Center: Food Safety. 31.01.2016. URL: http://umm.edu/health/medical/ency/articles/food-safety. 09.12.2016. 
  • World Health Organization: Food safety. 12.2015. URL: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs399/en/. 09.12.2016.
  • Xinhua Net News: Chinese vice premier orders more efforts to improve food safety. 20.04.2010. URL: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2010-04/20/c_13258667.htm. 09.12.2016. 
  • The New York Times: Food Safety in China. URL: http://www.nytimes.com/topic/destination/food-safety-in-china. 09.12.2016.
  • Deutsche Welle: German food scandals. 01.03.2013. URL: http://www.dw.com/en/german-food-scandals/a-16600917. 09.12.2016.
  • Gale, Fred: Chinese Household Food Spending and Income. 01. 2007. URL: http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/200584/err32e_1_.pdf. 09.12.2016.