A CityZen pilot action is launched to deal with the land scarcity in cities and boost Urban Farming innovation processes for better resource efficiency and community engagement.  Within the pilot the Applied Research and Communications Fund (ARC Fund) and Sofia Development Association (SDA) are testing the co-creation values of Urban Farming innovations by the support of the Sofia Municipality and its SOfia Green programme.

The pilot action aims to design promo sets of “Do It Yourself” (DIY) vertical garden kits settled at four locations: Sofia Municipality, Sofia Tech Park – a science and technology park, a business office space and a residential building in order to test functionalities and engagement rate by diverse user profiles. The kits co-creation will draw on the efforts of many contributors – public authorities, students, start-ups, agronomists, designers, architects, marketing experts and hobby urban growers. The pilot also makes synergy with the municipality programme on composting of food and organic wastes as each kit will contain a 10 kg bag of free compost.

The pilot was inspired by and transfers elements from several good practices. The Mertola’s municipality “Lab for the Future” strategic programme and Food Network that aims to experiment solutions for more sustainable future through co-creation, testing, demonstration and monitoring of different agroecology techniques. In addition the DIY concept and the minimalistic design of urban gardens is reflected from the Andalhuerto Organic Project of Andalusia presenting DIY kits for small school gardens and the Svolou’s Neighborhood Pocket Park in Thessaloniki.

The effects of the vertical gardens’ promo sets over the community will be monitored via regular feedback e-tool for a period of three months. The aim is to evaluate outcomes by the testing locations on the vertical garden’s functionalities and impacts on the work and living place quality. Eventually, the pilot action will produce guidelines for the future kit’s users as an ‘open source’ innovation where everyone could make and share upgrades for DYI space-saving vertical gardens.
Upscale and experience sharing process for the co-design of Urban Farming innovations is open to all CityZen’s partners willing to contribute at each step of the pilot.

Тwo workshops on 11 and 18 October are set at the premises of CityZen project’s partner Sofia Development Association to bring together various stakeholders in the co-creation process for the DIY vertical garden kits. The first event will be on concept design, while the second will focus on building and validating the kit’s prototype.