LAP implementation process and results – City of Ghent

Within the PROSPERA project, the City of Ghent chose to review, improve and implement the policy instrument “Spatial Structural Vision 2030 – Space for Ghent”. More specifically, in accordance with the ambitions of PROSPERA, Ghent focused on policy instruments related to the preservation and sustainable management of open space in (peri-urban) Ghent. In our local action plan, we formulated the goal to concretise the city’s vision on agriculture and public land for agriculture.

To develop the agricultural vision, a participatory approach has been applied with workshops in which we involved several City Departments, policy makers and external stakeholders. Data and maps have been prepared and have been used to feed the envisioning process on agriculture in the city of Ghent. Many stakeholders have cooperated to elaborate the vision. They had the opportunity to give input during the envisioning process and they also had the chance to give feedback to the draft version of the vision on agriculture. This feedback was used to finetune the vision. In general, the stakeholders’ feedback on the draft version of the vision was already very positive. The city’s vision on agriculture has been approved by the City Council (Gemeenteraad) on May 30, 2023. Linked to this vision, an operational plan with short term actions has been elaborated. These actions will be implemented in 2023, 2024 and 2025.

“I am very happy that the City of Ghent has made a vision on agriculture. It shows that you want to give farming a place in Ghent. The vision focuses on sustainable agriculture, but integrates the existing farmers. It is positive that we were asked to give input into the vision and that you really listened to us.” (a local farmer)

A specific part of the local action plan that we worked on, but which has not yet been politically approved is the “vision on public land for agriculture”. We did gather data on public farmland and we discussed several options with colleagues, politicians and external stakeholders. However, a political decision on this topic has been postponed by Ghent’s policy makers till the next political term. Meanwhile, they have agreed not to sell public farmland anymore in order to give time to further investigate and elaborate the vision on public farmland. Both City colleagues and stakeholders were pleased that the opportunity has been created to discuss the topic of public land use and that information has been gathered and inserted in the envisioning process. As such, a good basis has been created to make an agreement on this topic later. The vision of agriculture that has been approved strengthens this basis. Moreover, an open call for an agricultural project on one plot of public farmland has been launched in June 2023. This action is part of the operational plan linked to Ghent’s vision on agriculture. It aims to provide lessons learned and contribute to the envisioning process for public farmland.

Want to read the full action plan? You can find it in the Library.