The UN projects that by 2050, 68% of the world’s population will be living in cities, a 13% increase from today’s demographics. The world is already facing enormous challenges to feeding its inhabitants, and providing urban populations with sufficient nutrition will only get harder.
This situation is the context for ISA Lille’s work in urban agriculture. At the heart of our research in this area is the Tast’in Fives project. Since 2017, ISA Lille has been working with the City of Lille and other public and private partners, on transforming the Fives Cail brownfield into a community kitchen. Located in Lille’s postindustrial Fives neighborhood, this collaborative workspace gives residents a new opportunity to organize workshops related to healthy cooking and eating as well as reducing waste and doing so as a community. What’s more this “Pavilion Gourmand” food hall serves as a shared space for community meetings and events.
ISA Lille has participated in this European Regional Development Fund-financed project via the construction and installation of the experimental urban greenhouse, complete with container gardens and innovative aquaponic cultivation techniques: vertical containers, ebb and flow irrigation, continuous flow solution, and more. In addition our Agricultural Economics research unit, GreCAT, is analyzing the City of Lille’s support for the Tast’in Fives project as well as the social impact of such projects in urban agriculture, notably on municipal and regional food policy.
To pass on the knowledge and experience we’re gaining in the Tast’In Fives project, a new course on Urban Farming is being offered by our Agricultural Science department within our Master of Science and Engineering program. This course will teach students about the history of urban farming, context and challenges as well as current activities and research objectives.