The UB Solidarity Foundation is one of the partners of the research project EdiCitNet – Edible Cities Network (2018-2023), an initiative with 35 partners in 13 different cities around the world funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program.
The final objective of the project is the implementation and evaluation of nature-based solutions within the framework of strategic urban plans designed for the transition to sustainable and socially resilient food producing cities.
The initiative aims to demonstrate that the implementation of non ornamental green infrastructures in the city not only allows to increase the sustainable production of food, but also facilitates the regeneration of urban spaces, promotes a green economy, and encourages social cohesion by creating jobs and integrating the most vulnerable sectors of the population.
Particularly, the UB Solidarity Foundation:
- provides technical advice to the City Council of Sant Feliu de Llobregat for the development of a strategic urban plan integrating social urban agriculture projects for the expansion of the vegetable gardens, improved water management and recovery for irrigation, the implementation of more innovative solutions (living roofs, vertical orchards…), the involvement of different groups (people with other abilities, unaccompanied minors, refugees, long-term unemployed people) and the creation of micro-enterprises.
- has established a collaboration with the Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA) for the creation of natural solutions to facilitate urban planning for a sustainable development.
Career path in the field of social agriculture
The UB Solidarity Foundation has a long history of promoting the social and labour market inclusion of people at risk of exclusion from the Barcelona Metropolitan Area through social agriculture.
Under the supervision of professionals in the agriculture and social intervention fields, the UB Solidarity Foundation has carried out several projects that, through the life cycle of a garden, have worked on values linked to the recognized educational, leisure and welfare function, and social welfare of urban gardens. For example, the projects have improved the nutrition of the participants and their families through baskets of fresh products.
- Pilot plan with the City Council of Sant Feliu de Llobregat, intended for long-term unemployed people.
- Collaboration agreement between the University of Barcelona and the City Council of Santa Coloma de Gramenet in order to implement a social agriculture program in the city for unemployed people, retired people and citizen entities who work with vulnerable groups, from which 3 plots (2,300 m²) of space conditioned for social agriculture were started up.
- Project for young people at risk of exclusion focused in the Besòs-Barcelonés North axis that dealt with interculturality through the use of high school institutes, sport and street activities, but also through social and labour insertion based on social agriculture workshops.
- “Expert in maintenance of urban gardens, composting centres and gardening” pre-labour course (ASSÍS green), 250 hours, promoted with the ASSÍS Reception Centre and intended primarily to people in situation of homelessness. The main objective of the course, recognized as a university extension diploma by the UB (30 ECTS credits), is to be a tool for the involvement, empowerment and training of students in order to improve, in this way, their possibilities to access the labour market.
Natural solutions for a sustainable development in the world
Beyond social agriculture, the UB Solidarity Foundation also promotes other types of natural solutions for a sustainable development in different countries around the world.
- Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam: From 2021 to 2024, the UB Solidarity Foundation participates in the Inow Asia project, for the development of innovative multilevel training programs for new leading water professionals in Southeast Asia, coordinated by the University of Girona (UdG) and approved by the Erasmus + program of the European Union, under the call for Capacity Building in the field of higher education. The aim of the project is to contribute to the postgraduate training of universities in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam in the field of water.
- Senegal: Between 2016 and 2021, together with the Gaston Berger University (UGB) and Món-3 foundation, the Solidarity Foundation of the University of Barcelona has carried out international cooperation projects based on the implementation of low-cost, environmentally sustainable technologies to contribute to the sustainable management of waste water and sanitation services in the Saint-Louis region, with the ultimate aim of improving the quality of life and well-being of the population.
- Vietnam: Between 2010 and 2013, together with the National University of Vietnam, the Solidarity Foundation of the University of Barcelona (UB Solidarity Foundation) set up an industrial waste water treatment plant in a seafood manufacturing industry in Halong Bay, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The plant works with ecological systems and is the first infrastructure of its kind in the Southeast Asia, registered in the World Register of Constructed Wetlands.
- Mauritania and Senegal: Between 2007 and 2012, Mauritania and Senegal have created a space for training, research and dissemination, aimed at people with advanced technical studies in the fields of agriculture and environment, to provide additional training focused on sustainable regional development. It includes the Master’s Degree in Rural Development and Cooperation, organised with the UB, the Gaston Berger University (Senegal), the UPC and the Món-3 Foundation.