6th Working Group Meeting of COST UAE in Sofia
The 6th WG meeting of COST UAE took place from April 15th until April 17th 2015 in Sofia, Bulgaria. It was hosted by the University of National and World Economy (UNWE) and was co-organized by the Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (ISSK) and the Forestry University in Sofia.
The programme of the meeting included a conference open to the public, two plenary sessions, the working group and MC meetings, and a field trip to Sofia urban and peri-urban agriculture projects. A 7-member delegation of COST UAE met with members of Sofia City Council at Sofia Municipality.
Welcome addresses were delivered by Prof. Julia Doychinova, local host from the UNWE, Prof. Stati Statev, Rector of UNWE, Ms Lorita Radeva, Chairperson of the Committee for Environment at the Sofia City Council, and Prof. Frank Lohrberg, Chair of the Action.
Keynote speaker at the public conference was Prof. Vikram Bhatt, from McGill Univesity, Canada, who focused his lecture on Expanding Multifunctionality of Urban Agriculture.
The Bulgarian speakers at the public conference included Hristo Hristozov from The Civil Institute and Zafir Zarkov from the Sofia City Council who presented the Challenges facing Municipal Policy for the Development of Urban Agriculture and Ms Svetlana Boyanova, who posed the question whether urban agriculture is still a challenge for Bulgaria.
The second half of the public conference was dedicated to presentation of the results from the STSM in Sofia, performed by Jenny Sjöblom and Xavier Recasens in March 2015, and to presentations from local stakeholders. They included the organizers of Farmers' markets in Sofia (Ralitsa Kassimova and Nikolay Genov), local urban agriculture activist (Nikola Dodov), architects (Delcho Delchev and Dimitar Paskalev), and a policy researcher (Georgi Medarov).
The meeting of the COST UAE action delegation with Sofia City Council representatives was aimed at proposing measures for urban agriculture development in Sofia Municipality and it resulted in agreement for future collaboration between the Action members and the Municipality.
The Sofia field trip included the following visits: the Botanical gardens in the centre of Sofia, the experimental farm of the Forestry University and a peri-urban organic farm.
The plenary sessions were dedicated to discussing the progress and tasks associated with the future work of the action members, mainly the writing and editing of thematic papers and book chapters related to the work of the Action. Results of the discussions as well as plans for future steps were presented during the closing session.