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Food forest meets habitat restoration

Award category
Solutions for the co-evolution of built environment and nature
You want to submit
NEW EUROPEAN BAUHAUS RISING STARS : concepts or ideas submitted by young talents (aged 30 or less)
Project title
Food forest meets habitat restoration
Full concept/idea title
Integration of syntropic farming in the city: educational food forest and habitat restoration 2 in 1
Wanna eat for free with little work? A forest is a diverse, functional ecosystem, like all other ecosystems, its resilience is reliant on both diversity and its matured design. Without proper species diversity, its not an actual ecosystem, just a tree plantation. The geography, biology and ecology of an area is crucial for recreating any habitat. That is why tree plantations will never become true forests, yet this unwise practice remains to be common practice. We need forests, not plantations!
Where is your concept/idea being developed or intended to be implemented in the EU?
Str. Soveja nr. 17
Please provide a summary of your concept/ idea
To understand the meaning and importance of our project we will need to first explain in short what the terms syntropic farming, permaculture and food forest are. Syntropic farming is a system in which the natural processes are translated into farming interventions by imitating the natural regeneration of forests and providing a harmonious integration of our food production systems. It has proven to work, and it can address the biggest social and environmental challenges of our time.  Permaculture is an approach to land management that adopts arrangements observed in flourishing natural ecosystems. It includes a set of design principles using whole systems thinking. It uses these principles in fields such as regenerative agriculture, rewilding and community resilience. A food forest is a functional ecosystem, it has an increased resilience to extreme weather phenomenons, one that monocultures (including tree plantations) will never have. When a hail hits a monoculture, it is fully compromised, while if a hail hits a food forest, because of it's design, only part of it will be affected. A food forest is self reliant and self regulating so it does not need (or want) any chemicals to keep diseases and pests in check, since the design itself provides food and shelter for the predators of pests, not just the pests. Disease doesn't overtake plants in a food forest because the functionality of the design won't allow it. Ultimately, this project is about proving there is a better, more practical way to produce food. It is an accesible way, that can bring back biodiversity from the brink of extinction (us included) and increase the quality not just of our food but of our lives, and the lives of generations to come. All of the founding members of Beehave will be participating in the development of this project, led by the president of the organization, who has a background in (BS) Geography and (MS) Ecology, as the project manager.
Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of sustainability and how these would be met
Creating a local food forest/natural biodiversity exhibit in the city will give us the oportunity to provide relevant, accessible, scientifically accurate education to the local population and tourists about the potential and importance of food forests and true habitat restoration and conservation. The purpose of this educational project is creating a mold which can then be shared and reproduced easily and sistemically. We aim to provide the context for how we can create a circular economy in order to continually and smartly conserve our resources while improving productivity. Teaching people how to move away from extractive agriculture and closer to sustainable food production is paramount. This project will help us increase food security by bringing into the mainstream this extremely important knowledge for everyone to use freely. Part of being sustainable is beeing able to meet our nutritional requirements better (unlike monoculture mass cultures) and providing resilience in the face of upcoming extreme weather phenomenons. It also means reversing soil erosion and mycorrhiza obliteration. *Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) form symbioses with the majority of plant species and can provide multiple benefits to the host plant. It is a vital mutualistic relationship between plants and fungi without which plants cannot survive. By providing pollinators with the right environment we can help prevent the death en masse of these populations that occurs as a direct result of pesticide/insecticide/fungicide mass use in the agrotechnic system. We also need to adress the proliferation of plant and animal deseases and pests brought by the mass use of monocultures. Last but not least, we need to significantly drop global greenhouse emissions that are caused by the current agriculural practices (particularly plowing, tilling and leaving the soil uncovered by vegetation for most of the year).
Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of aesthetics and quality of experience beyond functionality and how these would be met
Given that this particular location already has the green space needed, and that it is largely in disuse, it makes for the perfect setting in term of aesthetics. Also, because of its central positioning within the city and because it is already a designated learning hub under the juristiction of the Ministry of National Education, we believe this will make for the perfect location for our project. Because the landscape of a functional ecosystem is inherently visualy pleasing and its background provides psychological and emotional relief this will be the perfect backdrop for outdoor socializing. There will be pathways for walking and small sitting areas along the routes that could be used for reading or playing chess and so on. We also want to integrate some space dedicated to outdoors sports activities like yoga,Tai chi or other similar endeavours. Beyond that, the backbone of this project will be a learning hub about food forests, permaculture, the environment and habitat restoration. For this purpose we will be putting up informative pannels throughout the perimeter of the green hub in addition to the workshops and other events that we will organize there. The rehabilitation of this space will enhance the potential of an area that has been in need of a proper revamping for a very long time. This project will hopefully work towards making this area one of the main attractions in the city again. We want to grow the interest in the city itself by improving the aspect, use and reputation of what used to be a representative landmark of the city.
Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of inclusion and how these would be been met
Because this area currently atracts virtually no human presence unless there is an event organized there, we want to increase the value of the area through it's rehabilitation. Since this particular site is practically designed only for a younger audience, we want to also increase the rate of inclusion for all age groups. That way, more diverse people get to enjoy the area and hopefully on a daily basis.  That is why we feel like by expanding the educational area beyond the walls of the buildings there and into the "wild" we can make learning more fun and aproachable for every age group. This project will be accessible free of charge and by everyone, since this plot of land is public domain. It will be made to provide people with free acces to a model, a "how to" example for everyone who wants to make a food forest from scratch for themselves, their families or their community. Particularly inclusive for people with no or low financial means. Because there are practically no free resources about food forests and habitat restauration, we consider that this project is very important to cater to these underpriviledged people who might benefit the most from this critically important knowledge. In order to achieve that, we will use this area to hold workshops about ecology, environmental protection, permaculture, syntropic farming and food forests to facilitate learning. The food produced here will be donated locally to individuals in need like homeless people and/or organizations that care for the old or the young like assisted living facilities or orphanages.
Please explain the innovative character of your concept/ idea
This type of project has never been done in this city or even this larger area of the country at all (and certainly not for free) before. There are very few examples of this type of project all over the world. The most impresive part of this project is that because of it's nature, a food forest is self reliant once mature. It is a functional ecosystem with such a huge diversity of species that you can only ever still experience it in the few remainig wilderness areas still left unhindered at this point in human history. The true innovator of this project is nature. It is but an immitation of the exhibit mother nature has provided, the ultimate design that was built and tweaked to perfection over 700 million years of evolution. It's best quality is that it works, as oposed to monocultures which are extremely weak because of their heavily reliance on human intervention for survival. This natural model, the less human intervention, the more it thrives and produces, unlike the current agrotechnical model that is so hopelessly vulnerable by design that without intense effort on our part (and even with it in fact) it will crumble and soon. We've weakened our food system so much by modifying everything about the original, natural design that we made our current food system unable to survive without human intervention at every step of the way. It is now so weakened, that it will not be able to provide for us much longer. Unless of course we change back to the original design, the one that works. But in order to do this we need to, first all, be aware of this alternative and how it works better than anything we've ever come up with, then, start imitating en masse. This is where our project comes in, we trust it can cause more ripples of change, the ripples our own survival depends on. Making food forests mainstream is the only way for us ever achieving food security and true sustainability and equity.
Please detail the plans you have for the further development, promotion and/or implementation of your concept/idea, with a particular attention to the initiatives to be taken before May 2022
We are already using our social media to educate and inform the public on these subjects. Right now we are preparing to launch our website. The website will have a blog with educational articles on these subjects and more. After the website will be functional we are planning to start a podcast where we will interview experts with different backgrounds where we will analyse and connect the challanges humankind is facing with possible solutions to our current environmental problems. We want to engage the public and inspire them to practice the solutions, not just inform them about the impending crises. The podcast will start within 60 days of receiving the grant. We also want to hold a two part online workshop, the first one will explain how and why we have these environmental problems - we will focus on the big bicture, but we will be touching every single aspect of it. The second one will be focusing on what and how we should be aproaching the "solutions" for the aforementioned problems on both an individual level and on a bigger scale with an emphasis on building your own food forest. We will also encourage people to try to design their own food forest at the end of the workshop. This online workshop will start within 120 days from receiving the grant. The food forest we will build will be planted either in March or April (before May 2022), during a permablitz with volunteers. depending on what the weather conditions will be like. The online promotion strategies we have in mind are using facebook/instagram/google ads to promote our posts/blog articles/podcast/online workshop. Using catchy graphic design images that accurately display what we want to transmit. Pomoting the zero waste lifestyle by awarding our podcast guests with reusable kits, we hope to inspire them to switch their personal consumption habits and those of the people around them. This project is a long term one, and hopefully so is our species survival.
By ticking this box, you declare that all the information provided in this form is factually correct, that the proposed concept/idea has not been proposed for the New European Bauhaus Rising Stars Awards more than once in the same category.


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