Situated in the Central Denmark Region (Midtjylland), Aarhus is known for its bottom up initiatives involving UA. The ‘Taste Aarhus’1 program has been a key driver of the implementation of more than 300 UA initiatives around the city. The program is managed by Aarhus Municipality partially through self-funding (€1 million) and partially through funding provided by Nordea Bank (€1 million, 2015-2018). The main question the program address is ‘How can cities create more socially inclusive places and communities, when focusing on edible nature and urban farming?’ Taste Aarhus uses urban gardening as a tool to bring people together, activate underutilised spaces around the city and engage people in the practice of growing their own food. The SiEUGreen project will sustain and enrich the UA activities in “Taste Aarhus” Program and technical provision. Urban Agriculture-related technologies will be implemented in the Aarhus showcase, including moving mobile gardens, dry toilets and polytunnels.

In this showcase, there is major progress on the technology deployment and the community engagement. As for the green technologies, they have made the design for the polytunnels construction and system for irrigation, they have found means to access recyclable material to make the construction and purchased it. They have also been digging at appointed places to prepare for the polytunnels. The models of the polytunnels have been placed for exhibition in the planning department The World Gardens. The crops have been already plant at the polytunnels and it is already proved that the crops have grown approximately 20% faster than without polytunnels. Growing in the polytunnels has continued during the pandemic. The association is planning to build more poly tunnels. About the blue technologies, important decisions on the maintenance of the solar dry toilet (already in place) have been taken and as for the toilet compost, it was agreed that one or two students from NMBU will monitor the toilet and the residue. The demonstration ‘Solar‐driven toilet and urban farming in Fællesgartneriet’ has been set. The compost produced will be tested for suitability to be used in vegetable gardens to assure the community for the safe use of recovered soil amendment products in their gardens. Notable activities have taken place to engage the community, more than ten official actions have been organized, exposing the new technologies. The pandemic has put restrictions to what types of activities has been able to carry out in relation to the polytunnels. There are preliminary plans for a workshop on building in poly tunnels for 2021, in accordance with corona restrictions.

A. Background: Vision, Objectives, Technical Potential

I. Situation before SiEUGreen intervention.

In the Aarhus Municipality, the program “Taste Aarhus” adopts an inclusive approach to facilitate different social groups to engage in urban agriculture. The project supports the implementation of more than 250 gardens in the city and uses different communication strategies to reach out to different groups. The program “Taste Aarhus” has a cross-sectorial outreach within the public administration, and through urban agriculture involves urban planning, social and health care, and educational sectors to address the challenges of segregated communities, obesity, lack of access to green areas, absence of physical activity.Taste Arhus uses different types of knowledge-rooms, such as food schools, events, pop-ups, networking, lectures, and courses, while encouraging people to ‘do-it-yourself’. Currently, the program has established small urban gardens, large gardens, community gardens, plantations, mushroom farms and use the green and blue urban spaces (e.g., beaches, forests, parks, meadows, and the sea) to raise awareness about edible resources in the city and encourage people to grow their own food. The program involves the residents, business, and local institutions in the planning of green areas, to provide education in UA and gardening, to support all residents in their different state of knowledge towards an understanding and experience of cooking and preparation of local harvest.
Another stronghold of the program is the focus on utilising, and thus preserving, tacit knowledge on how to grow food that can be passed to future generations. “Taste Aarhus” became part of the SiEUGreen project due to its maturity, as it involves diverse sectors of society and has supported the implementation of several gardens capitalising on available resources.In the context of SiEUGreen, two gardens have been selected as testbeds for testing technologies: Brabrand Fællesgartneriet and World Gardens. Brabrand Fællesgartneriet is one of the oldest gardens in Aarhus, established in 2014 in the peri-urban area of the city. The garden has 11 000 m2, which includes 6 000 m2 of open cultivation land, 3 000 m2 of greenhouses, and 2 000 m2 of other built facilities, where 100 families grow food. World Gardens is an association that runs community gardens in Gellerupparken and Toveshøj. Gellerup is located on the outskirts of Aarhus Municipality and is defined by the Danish Government as a ghetto due to the socio-economic characteristics of the residents (e.g., low income, high unemployment). In the Danish planning system, when an area is characterised as a ghetto, the municipality is responsible for implementing policies and projects to transform the area into an attractive urban district. In the case of Gellerup, such actions included the relocation of various municipal offices from the city centre to the neighbourhood and the refurbishment of residential units, also including the demolition of some buildings.

II. Work envisioned in the context of SiEUGreen project.

The Aarhus municipality will be creating “bridges” between the SiEUGreen project and its existing “Taste Aarhus” project, communities, and activities by providing contacts, space for testing recycling solutions, facilitating for upgrading of greenhouses and gardens, making the project knowledge available to the public, and facilitating events to promote it. During the showcase works and implementations, both public and private land will be used. The showcase will provide facilities for testing toilets, compost, moving mobile gardens and polytunnels in the two areas. In the Brabrand Fallaesfartneriet, where common gardens existing, including both common greenhouses and open land for among 100 households being rented from a private landowner. At the same time, an already initiated public-private initiative in the second area (World Gardens) will be supported by the SiEUGreen project in a vulnerable area of the city with different immigrant groups. Here the knowledge exchange is a large challenge and different activities on how to transfer and include will be tested here.

A/A Description
1 Testing a solar-driven toilet in the Brabrand Fællesgartneriet. This toilet does not use water to flush the waste and, powered by the sun, transforms the waste into biochar, which is charcoal that can be used for soil additive and as a fertiliser for growing food. This technology aims to demonstrate alternative ways of dealing with human waste (faeces and urine) while addressing the scarcity of phosphorous, a non-renewable resource fundamental for growing food.
2 Compost tests and application. The excrements from the toilet will be treated thermally and the produced compost will be applied in growth trials. The compost and the crops will be tested for nutrient content and pharmaceutical residues.
3 Moving mobile gardens
4 In theb World Gardens, build polytunnels with recycled materials. This technology demonstrates means for the residents to grow vegetables more efficiently and prolong the growing season.

Implementation Completed, ongoing and upcoming Workplan.

In the following tables you can find the completed, ongoing, and upcoming activities of Aarhus showcase.

Brabrand Fællesgartneriet: Completed Activities & Milestones

Month/Year Description
Sep 2019 The solar-driven toilet was implemented and opened for use.
Nov 2020 A newsletter informing the members of the garden about the functioning and objectives of the solar toilet.
Apr 2021 Laboratory test of the compost to check its suitability/safety of using as fertiliser to grow food.
Jun 2021 A newsletter informing about the results of the laboratory test of the compost.
May-Aug 2021 Implementation of testbeds that will grow crops with the compost.
Jun 2021 Production of a video about the solar driven toilet and the test garden in Brabrand.
Sep 2021 Laboratory test of the crops grown in the testbeds.

World Gardens: Completed Activities & Milestones

Month/Year Description
Sep 2019 Design and constructing polytunnels.
Mx Mini workshops about how to build a polytunnel with recycled materials.
Apr 2021 Seedling indoors.
Jun 2021 Grow food in the polytunnels.
Jul-Sep 2019 Dissemination of the technology with the organisation of mini workshops about how to build polytunnels.
Sep 2021 Harvest of the season.

Objectives Total Target Values Value achieved by Aarhus Showcase Comments/Mitigation
Objective 1:
Improve resilience of urban centers in Europe and China and increase food security.
  • a. Amount of secure (FAO) food produced (WP3) in relation to the amount of food produced without the project. Target: > 50% increase 12000kg.
  • b. Engagement and behavior change workshops (T3.2) Target value: 2 in each showcase.
  • c .Number of unemployed involved in the activities. Target: 500
  • 100 kg crops in polytunnels.

  • 2797,5kg crops in greenhouse and freeland) with an 20% increase.
  • 2 Workshops.
Objective 2:
Develop and showcase novel resource efficient systems for horticultural production in urban and peri-urban environments in China and Europe.
  • a. Number of large-scale demonstrators (showcases). Target: 5; Unused land reused. Target: 20ha (WP3).

  • b. Individuals involved in showcases. Target: 5000; Households involved in showcases. Target: 750.

  • c. Balcony gardens. Target: 90. Organic (rooftop) restaurants. Target: 2.

  • d. Reduction of the water and energy footprints. Target Value: 90%; 1270m3 methane/year converts to electricity; 3190 kWh/year, heat; 9580 kWh/year, CO2 for the greenhouse use: 1550 m3/year.

  • 250 individuals involved.
    314 households.
Objective 3:
Create a “bridge” of shared knowledge and best practices between Europe and China, through the collaboration of scientists, communities, and policymakers at both continents.
High-level International meetings > 4
Agreements signed > 2.
Objective 4:
Create an active trans-disciplinary community of multiple actors: researchers/technology providers, public authorities, private actors, residents, local communities, SMEs.
  • a. L1: Resident level/ Households: Over 1000 individuals in each of 5 geographical areas.

  • b. L2: Municipalities/ Communities: Active community members from the case study cities including marginalized groups such as refuges elderly, excluded groups etc. will benefit from the project.

  • c. L3: International stakeholders: Policymakers, SMEs, and researchers from China (showcase), Turkey (showcase), Greece (awareness), Denmark (showcase), Norway (showcase).
Objective 5:
Create new value chains and develop sustainable business models that can be replicable across regions and countries.
a. Negotiations with investors
valued > 100M€.
Objective 6:
Develop evaluation methods to measure the economic, environmental, and social impacts of urban farming and its value chains on the urban communities.
a. The impact assessment will be based on the overall project’s aim to promote the model of green – smart inclusive cities.
Objective 7:
Raise awareness, communicate the results, and promote the adoption of the “green – smart – inclusive city” model.
Target audience for awareness-raising activities on resilience and food literacy (T6.1) Target value: > 10000.
This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 774233.