Urban Agriculture Exploration and Tour: Oslo Food Think Tank in Amsterdam

CITIES organized a tour to inspire Oslo Food Think Tank on the preparation of a report for the national Norwegian Government

A think thank of representatives of public, cialis private and creative professionals in the local food filed, cheap have been visiting Amsterdam on the 19th of September. FARMING THE CITY team welcomed them by providing a guided tour and an afternoon of discussion about local food policy, councils and support, learning from our experience in Amsterdam. In the morning, we visited two exemplary projects. The first clash with Amsterdam food experience was “I Can Change the World With My Two Hands”, a project that we consider unique in its ability to develop a small network of activities in the neighbourhood. ). I Can Change The World with My Two Hands” is an allotment garden that has been initiated by a group of neighbors. The shared garden involves also 20 residents, which manage their own piece of land and a communal space. Some of the produce is conserved and sold in a local shop that has been open in the same street. Some of the harvest is also shared with a restaurant, which is also located nextdoor. Moreover, workshops are provided together with another local organization, for example this season, there will be lessons about Picking and Pickling, Growing and Using Exotic Herbs, Winter Wonder Crops, and Harvest Preservation ( This project is considered to be exemplary because of the small network of local actors that is developing through the implementation of a garden. This project became a new centre of neighbourhood activation, and its value relies on its social and micro economic benefit.


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Economic benefit is also something to take into consideration, when developing urban-related initiatives. Many cities in the crisis Global North are facing a problem, office occupancy. Due to a transition to a more creative economy, and the relocation of not only production but also administrative functions to other countries, office buildings are empty. In Holland 5 milions square meters of office building are in need of a business. What to do? At Zuidpark, they found the answer. The second spot of out tour is Zuidpark, an urban farming rooftop which sits on the roof of a modernist office building that has recently been renovated to offer flexible, mobile working facilities. The rooftop has several functions: it serves as the office park, where people can meet, walk, and eat lunch. It is also a cultivation space where 70 different fruits, vegetables and herbs are grown. The owners of the building decided to invest on the roof garden rather than the indoor design, and as a result, the building is completely full and occupied by young, but established companies. The harvest of the garden is used in the building canteen, while tenants can go upstairs and pick whatever they want. They often mention the fact that they have to find out how to cook these vegetables themselves, being used only to processed pre-made meals. ZuidPark is a relatively low cost example about how to use food as a tool for urban development. During the travel to the restaurant MOES, we passed by the location where the Toasti Fabriek developed during the last growing season. De Toasti Fabriek is an art project, where some young locals have been growing the ingredients to make a toasty in a derelict urban surrounding, for one season. At the beginning of September, pigs have been slaughtered to produce the ham for toasty, moreover, cows have been milked to make cheese, and grain has been harvested to make the bread. Unfortunately, the project has been dismantled due to its temporary nature, which gave us some inputs to start a discussion about the food related initiatives and bottom-up developments in general.

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Time for discussion came after lunchtime. Marc from MOES gently explained the concept behind his restaurant, where not only food but also furniture are sourced locally. We had an interesting debate about the local food policy, where we analyzed the past actions, the present condition and the future steps of Amsterdam and we postulate some conclusions, useful, hopefully, also for the city of Oslo.

We thank all the participants, Kai Rune Tollefsen, County Governor office, Ellen Marie Forsberg, County Governor office, Knut Samseth, Regional agriculture office, Ina Vibeke Holth, Agency for Urban Environment, David Dudec, Agency for Urban Environment, Romy Ortiz – Center for urban ecology, Inge Kristoffersen, Bogstad farm Oslo, Jan Tore Sørsdal, Bygdøy royal farm, Tore Faller, Oslo school gardens, Gudbrand Teigen, Innovation Norway, Linnea Svensson, Greener events, Stina Mehus, Regional farm association; and especially Pernille Leivestad, which brought this think tank to Amsterdam because she is preparing an action plan for urban agriculture in the region of Oslo for the county council, which will help form the basis for an urban agricultural parliamentary report in Norway.

In Norway, it is the first time in history that urban agriculture will be included in such a report. Therefore, Pernille thought it was important to learn from Amsterdam. We hope that our day together inspired the participants and helped them using the food system as a framework where to build food policies and supporting programs.

Posted on 23 September 2013 and filed under Projects

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