Freelance STSMs accomplished within COST Action Urban Agriculture Europe

Within COST Action Urban Agriculture Europe 17 freelance Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) have been carried out by Early Career Researchers.

Short descriptions of the research strategies and downloads of the achieved STSM reports can be found below in inverse chronlogical order.

STSM "Developing a methodology to analyse and compare governance of Urban Agriculture"

This STSM aims to share and develop knowledge about analysis of urban agriculture governance processes in Europe by sharing lessons learnt from two different fields of research: Clermont-Ferrand (France) and Geneva (Switzerland).
The focus will be on governance process that impact on urban farming as defined in the COST UAE WG1 and the public policies influencing urban farming. Governance process and public policies are so different between urban gardening and urban farming that this STSM will be focused specifically on the second category.

The objectives of this STSM are to:

  • Learn about the place based governance (“gouvernance territoriale” in French) analysis methodologies and apply them to urban agriculture governance analysis;
  • Elaborate an analytical framework of urban agriculture governance;

Before STSM, the objectives are:

  • Explore bibliographical resources about place based governance;
  • Build an inventory of case studies in Geneva and Clermont-Ferrand based on the table of WG 2 of the Cost UAE Action;
  • Elaborate a first analytical grid based on the existing literature (including work developed in WG 2 by Prové et al.) and the analytical framework proposed by Paoli et Soulard (2003);

During the STSM, the objectives are:

  • Enrich the theoretical framework;
  • Present Geneva case studies in a perspective of complementary/comparative analysis with Clermont-Ferrand case studies;
  • Expose and test the analytical framework on the case studies from the Geneva and Clermont-Ferrand by organizing a seminar with specialists of governance analysis;
  • Make interviews with researchers on governance of UA in Clermont-Ferrand.


19/10/2015 to 30/10/2015


Cyril Mumenthaler, University of Lausanne

Local host:

Salma Loudiyi, VetAgro Sup Institute,Lempdes

STSM “Stakeholders’ acceptance, governance and power relations in innovative forms of urban agriculture”

The work plan includes 4 weeks of joint research:

  • First week: Analysis of the acceptance of innovative forms of urban agriculture, by identifying the risks perceived by the stakeholders.
  • Second week: Analysis of the governance of urban agriculture and innovative forms of urban agriculture, by identifying the inclusion of urban agriculture in the policy at different scales (from the local to regional administration).
  • Third week: Analysis of the power relations between stakeholders involved in urban agriculture, by comparing their position in accepting rooftop farming and their power in policy-making.
  • Fourth week: Global assessment of acceptance, governance and power relations of urban agriculture and innovative forms of rooftop farming by comparing the outputs of each case study and identifying the common trends and the main divergences.


15/10/2015 to 15/11/2015


Esther Sanyé-Mengual, Institute of Environmental Science and Technology - Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Local host:

Rose Marie Siebert, Leibniz-Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research,Müncheberg

STSM "Developing a joined up approach to food growing; the case of Cork, Ireland"

Cork Food Policy Council has actively promoted the establishment of a just and sustainable food system through partnership work. Recently published Cork City Development Plan highlights a commitment to supporting food growing within the city. The aim of this project is to:

  • Explore the opportunities and pathways for establishing and maintaining a cross city network for food growing within Cork,Ireland. This will be achieved through bringing a range of stakeholders together to explore the maximization of food growing opportunities building on the objectives raised through the Cork City Development Plan report
  • It will aim to explore the way forward to support Cork Food Policy Council and community gardening networks and other players in embedding food growing in policy and practice.
  • It will develop proposals for the practical expansion of food growing initiatives building on local examples and capacity
  • Contribute to learning within wider COST initiative and within the WG2 focus on UA and governance, looking at links between planning, policy and civil society as a way of embedding UA and food growing.
    The work will involve semi structured interviews with key stakeholders, on line research and production of final plan


27/07/2015 to 30/09/2015


Veronica Barry, Birmingham City University

Local host:

Colin Sage, University College Cork

STSM report: Developing a joined up approach to food growing; the case of Cork, Ireland
Author:Veronica Barry
File size:2,76 MB

STSM "Tomato-cycle-diary: An ethnobotanical journey through European Urban Agriculture"

There is a growing global concern about the loss of crop biodiversity as a fundamental resource for agricultural progress and adaptation to future socio-economic, biotic or cultural requirements.
Although homegardens are globally well documented sources and sinks of plant genetic resources, crop biodiversity in European homegardens and European urban agriculture in general is a still neglected field of research.
It is therefore crucial to study the connections between urban farmers and their crop varieties, understand their choices and think about ways to conserve and promote crop biodiversity in urban agriculture.
It is also crucial to understand variety choice limitations by various external and internal factors like seed regulations (EU; national); consumers´ preferences and industrial requirements, accessibility, social networks and personal preferences among others, to avoid incentives which would reduce crop biodiversity.

The STSM will contribute to the assessment of crop plant diversity in urban agriculture among Europe which would give valuable insights for the Working Groups 1-3. As seed is an essential input for all kinds of agriculture, we need to understand, what will restrict free flows of genetic material and what might accelerate or hold up crop biodiversity loss.


31/08/2015 to 30/09/2015


Heike Zoe Heuschkel, University of Applied Sciences Osnabrueck

Local host:

Paola Migliorini, University of Gastronomic Science, Bra

STSM "Sustainable Substrates for Urban Agriculture made from Urban Wastes"

Researcher: Moreen Heiner, Technische Universitat Berlin

Local Host: Luke Beesley, The James Hutton Institute

STSM report: Sustainable Substrates for Urban Agriculture made from Urban Wastes
Author:Moreen Heiner
File size:394,9 KB

STSM “Business models of Urban Agriculture”

The main objective of the STSM is a template for classification exemplary tested with case studies from Italy and Germany. This template is supposed to be used for the final catalogue of WG 3. The catalogue of entrepreneurial models is the primary task and aim of WG 3.
The proposed STSM can be divided in four working boxes to reach the envisaged objective of an easily useable template for classification of entrepreneurial models of urban agriculture: Organization, Analysis of case studies from Italy and Germany, Template for classification and excursions.

Within the STSM the analysis of entrepreneurial models from Italy and Germany is exemplary used to develop a sophisticated template for classification. The STSM is going to emphasize the German polycentric agglomeration Metropolis Ruhr (5.2 million inhabitants) and the region of Perugia, Umbria, in central Italy. Approximately 160,000 inhabitants are living in Perugia and nearly 900,000 in Umbria. Furthermore, it seems to be valuable to integrate further cases from Rome. The main objective of WG 3 is a catalogue of entrepreneurial models of urban agriculture.
The proposed STSM aims to develop a template for classification, which is suitable for a catalogue of entrepreneurial models. The definition and typology of urban agriculture developed by WG 1 of the COST-Action will be taken into account for this template, which is going to highly emphasize on entrepreneurial models.


13/04/2015 to 25/04/2015


Bernd PöllingUniversity of Applied Sciences South Westphalia

Local host:

Biancamaria Torquati, University of Perugia - Department of Economic and Food Sciences

Business models of Urban Agriculture
Author:Bernd Pölling
File size:8,5 MB

STSM “Inventory of free/abandoned areas in Oslo and possibilities for future land use (urban agriculture) and local activities. Which opportunities and challenges can be defined?”

This STSM intended to identify and present the potential for urban agriculture in the city of Oslo through the creation of a potentially useful land inventory. This was achieved by working with local stakeholders, analysing successful examples from Oslo and other cities, and utilizing GIS software. This inventory should be used to identify potential sites for food production and inform policy decisions regarding food, health, and city planning.

Primary objectives were to:
  • Determine relevant criteria for the land inventory through discussion with . local urban agriculture stakeholders.
  • Analyse urban agricultural initiatives in other cities and the role of land inventories through comparative case studies.
  • Develop a land inventory for the city of Oslo
  • Establish an easily accessible and usable format for the finalized database.
The ambition of this STSM was also to introduce to stakeholders and other parts the developed mapping tool as an innovative aid for supporting the decision making process in Urban Agriculture policies. With the potential model, we aim at contributing to the wider society dealing with urban agriculture, green spaces latent opportunities and food systems and to the methodological and theoretical approach of the European COST Action Urban Agriculture Europe.


23/02/2015 to 24/03/2015


Chiara Briatico, University of Seville, department of Geography and land planning

Local host:

Sebastian Eiter, Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute - Landscape section

Urban agriculture and territorial heritage elements linked to urban functionalities in Seville´s Metropolitan Area

The STSMs proposes to identify and to analyze heritage elements related to urban agriculture in order to reinforce them as urban functions. The applicant will identify buildings and agricultural infrastructure (farmhouses as cortijos, haciendas, water-mills, wells, water-ditches, ...) considered as valuable heritage elements. Would analyze their relationship with spatial patterns of farms. And may make a set of proposals to promote the relationship between urban agriculture, heritage elements and citizens or visitors.


16/02 - 07/03/2015


Paola Branduini, Politecnico di Milano - PaRID - Ricerca e documentazione internazionale per il paessaggio

local host:

Prof. María-José Prados, University of Seville - Postgraduate and PhD International Center

STSM "Food systems and urban-rural interaction. The Nordic and the Mediterranean perspectives"

The ways food is produced, processed, transported and consumed have a very important impact on cities sustainableb development. Although there is a lack of a common and integrated approach among European countries, food systems are becoming a major challenge for researchers and community. However, until now the relationships between local food production and food distribution and consumption have been largely underexplored.

Therefore, the overall aim of this research is to examine existing local food systems (from production to consumption), and to analyse if food production systems within European Metropolitan Regions are ‘urban-linked’ or not. By ‘urban-linked’ we mean farming models taking advantage of the proximity to the city, as it has been proposed by WG1 researchers (COST Action Urban Agriculture Europe). To provide a better  understanding of peri-urban agriculture in different European countries, two European Metropolitan Regions have been selected: Stockholm’s metropolitan region (SMR), in the North, and Barcelona’s Metropolitan Region (BMR), in the South.

The research will consist of two work packages, one before the STSM and one on site. The preparatory works before the STSM will start in the form of literature review and data collection about food production and agriculture typologies within both metropolitan regions. A questionnaire to conduct interviews will be drawn up and discussed. The research will be followed on site conducting interviews with farmers, scientists and policy makers involved in spatial planning, and agricultural and food systems planning. Last step will be data processing and evaluation of the results.


15/09/2014 to 26/10/2014


Sonia Callau, Barcelona provincial council

Local host:

Lars Johansson,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Food systems and urban-rural interaction - The Nordic perspective
Author:Sonia Callau Berenguer
File size:7,69 MB

New Landscape Typologies - the Integration of Urban Agriculture into Urban Areas

To qualify areas for \\`New Landscape Typologies\\` it is important to examine agricultural areas in terms of uses and users.Their potential of integration such as leisure and social activities, etc.

How could this types of new landscape typologies be realized?

8 areas where this combination already exists, will be analyzed in detail. For this purpose I will develop a specific method of analysis. With this method the different areas should be illustrated clearly and easy to compare.
This will be done through the graphical investigation of space in form of:

  • detailed site plans
  • analysis maps
  • sections
  • schematic illustrations

including contents such as

  • types of urban agriculture
  • vegetation
  • access points and boundaries etc.

To identify user groups I will have various interviews, to get information about

  • uses and users
  • types of uses
  • reasons for using etc.

During the last episode of my stay I will work on a comparison between projects in Germany and projects in Spain and I will also work on a translation of positive examples into general design principles which should be adaptable for different regions.


07/07/2014 to 05/09/2014


Julia Haun, RWTH Aachen University - Chair of Landscape Architecture

Local host:

Luis Maldonado, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - Departament d’Enginyeria Agroalimentària i Biotecnologia

STSM "Cultural Dimension of Urban Agricultural Landscapes"

The aim of the proposed research is to analyze the cultural dimension of urban agriculture through some case-study. The work wants to develop the framework proposed by myself and other researchers participating at WG1 during the last meeting in Dublin pertaining the definition of the cultural identity of urban agriculture. It assumes Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) and Historic Landscape Character (HLC) as starting point. These are tools for landscape reading elaborated in UK and very common and valued around the world. My STSM aims to define which aspects of Landscape Characterization are more relevant to urban agricultural landscapes and, through the application on same case-study, which are the more suitable descriptors of the UA cultural dimension. The steps are:

Before STSM
1. Collection of knowledge and best practices: collection data and best practices concerning landscape, rural landscape, urban rural landscape;identifying case studies.
2. Identifying case studies (up to six): case studies will be selected according to the urban agriculture types defined by WG1 of Cost Action.They will also be selected according to their accessibility during the mission.

On site
3. Survey and interviews: the cases studied will be focused through field visit and interview in order to understand the cultural components depending on physical perception,on social perception, on historic value
4. Data processing: case studies will also processed according to the axes as defined in Barcelona by WG1.
5. Evaluation of the results : the last step of my research aims to identify descriptors of cultural dimension in UA


18/05/2014 to 31/05/2014


Raffaela Laviscio, Politecnico di Milano - PaRID - Ricerca e documentazione internazionale per il paessaggio

Local Host:

Patricia Brown, Kingston University London

STSM report: Cultural dimension of urban agriculture
Author:Raffaela Laviscio
File size:1,69 MB

STSM "The urban metabolism of public space and the creation of food commons"

This STSM project researches the interlink between land use policies, ecology and food policies. Its focus is the understanding of cultural, ecological and legislative constraints, barriers and incentives to change the land use of open public space into food growing and food commons areas. This question is of relevance for WG 2 on governance and WG 5 on urban metabolism. Given the austerity measures that press a high number of local government institutions to identify ways to maintain urban green areas, and the rising need to implement more sustainable forms of food provision, there are conceptual and practical opportunities to intervene in urban metabolic dynamics, which involve land use change, transformation of brown to green areas, soil rehabilitation, crop productivity and new ecosystem services related to the use of public parks. These mechanisms are already in place in a number of European cities, but a more systematic research on their constraints and the incentives that bring their success, is needed.
This work will be carried out in two parts: interviewing policy makers and actors involved in innovative policy implementation in this field (for example the Agromere project), and interviews to policy makers that are not involved in this type of policies, to identify specific barriers.


May 2014


Chiara TornaghiUniversity of Leeds - School of Geography

Local host:

Han Wiskerke, Wageningen UR, Wageningen (NL)

STSM report: The urban metabolism of public space and the creation of food commons
Author:Chiara Tornaghi
File size:8,94 MB

STSM "Comparative study on Urban Agriculture in Spain, Estonia and Germany"

At the first stage of the research that I have already started, I have gathered information (bibliographic information) for a detailed study of the post-crisis periods in Spain and in Estonia, taking into account the policies, social issues, economy that took place. At the second stage I have passed questionnaires in Tartu (Estonia) and in Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain) to be able to have a social overview of the current situation, to know the need for having a plot to grow or if more infrastructures are needed. During the third stage I would like to collect detailed information about the current situation of these countries in relation to the policies, planning, needs of the users, the economy and the environment. At the fourth stage, that should take place in Aachen (2nd half of March or April), I would like to gather information; first of all about the post crisis times in Germany (after the Second World War) and about the current situation as well, with several examples and projects, from the productive to the leisure scale. For this reason I would like to conduct some questionnaires in Aachen as well that may contribute to a better understanding of the social framework and they are going to be the same ones as used in Spain and Estonia so that in the end I can compare them. Field visits to the sites to understand how the planning of the areas has been done and why they are the way they are. At the fifth stage (until June, when I have to present my thesis) I will compare the different periods of time of each country to draw conclusions that will be essential to find solutions for the Estonian Urban Agriculture, in terms of spatial planning. This will be done taking into account the necessities of the population, their need to sell their grown products or just wishing a place for leisure? Is it important to have new policies related to urban
agriculture? In what way will all these influences affect the economy of the area?


17/03/2014 to 27/03/2014


Ana Maria Fennema Galpasoro, Estonian University of Life Sciences,Tartu

Local Host:

Axel Timpe, RWTH Aachen University, Chair of Landscape Architecture

STSM report: Comparative study on Urban Agriculture in Spain, Estonia and Germany
Author:Ana Maria Fennema Galparsoro
File size:13,45 MB

STSM "Risk elements in urban agricultural spaces in greater Madrid, Spain"

The aim of this STSM is to select and survey potentially risky soils in established urban agricultural spaces (city gardens, allotments etc). Following survey appropriate analysis will be carried out to determine if risk elements exceed current guidelines for agricultural and urban soils and an assessment made of their bio availability. This is the scope of the STSM period, but future work in collaboration with the host will survey and analyse plant/crops to complete the risk assessment.

The present study will:
1) Survey and pre-select 5 urban agricultural plots in the greater Madrid area (already working with the host institution)
2) Collect and analyse 5-10 soils from each plot for total and bioavailable risk elements*
3) Create a baseline soil risk survey** to discriminate the future collection and analysis of plant material from urban agricultural plots to assess soil-plant transfer*** of risk elements and thus creation of a full risk analysis

*Standard soil collection and analytical procedures will be used according to published protocols.
**This will form the basis of an initial reference region in WG 5 (urban metabolisms strand soils)
***Expected to take place in May/June 2014


12/03/2014 to 31/03/2014


Luke Beesley, The James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen

Local Host:

Eduardo Moreno-Jimenez, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid

STSM report: Risk elements in urban agricultural spaces in greater Madrid, Spain
Author:Luke Beesley
File size:515,77 KB

RSTSM "Urban Agriculture in Christchurch (Canterbury Region, New Zealand)"

Subject of research: Diverse forms of Urban Agriculture (UA) at different levels and scales along the UA continuum - from the small-scale production backyards and family farms; through the small holdings of vineyards, orchards and (greenhouse and open-air soil) vegetable farms at the city border; up to the large-scale agricultural production on the CA Plains with a connection to the urban market;

Main research objectives: to provide a better understanding of UA in a global context, to emphasise the diversity and complexity of UA, to explore spatial, environmental, social and economic dimensions of UA in NZ, to experience the essence, multifunctionality and multilevel values of UA.


20/01/2014 to 16/02/2014


Attila Toth, Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra - Department of Garden and Landscape Architecture

Local host:

Femke Reitsma, University of Canterbury - Department of Geography

STSM "French programmes to facilitate periurban agriculture"

The STSM is intended to learn about the impact of public French policies in removing obstacles to develop periurban biological agriculture, and about the ongoing research and projects developed by INRA to evaluate the interaction of agricultural land and green networks to foster biodiversity.

The research will be carried out through a)interviews with researchers from INRA and with relevant stakeholders, b) field work c)analysis of planning documents and reports.


01/01/2014 to 13/01/2014


Marian Simon Rojo, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) - Dept. Urbanística y ordenación del territorio

Local host:

Claude Napoleone, INRA PACA, Avignon (FR)

STSM report: French programmes to facilitate periurban agriculture
Author:Marian Simon Rojo
File size:4,97 MB