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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2019-02-01 - 2021-01-31

Wild food gathering was repeatedly found to be one of the most popular outdoor activities in Europe and the commercialization of wild foods is increasingly discovered as bearing significant economic potential. Wild foods are marketed as innovative and trendy products bearing exceptional health benefits and unique flavors and about 100 million EU citizens were estimated to consume wild foods. Urban and suburban areas have high potential for commercializing but also sourcing wild foods but concerns of overexploitation of urban green spaces and unsustainable gathering practices has arisen. Such concerns are hardly ever backed up with scientific evidence about the potential and limits for sustainable harvesting in urban areas. This research project aims to counteract this gap of knowledge and aims to understand the ecological and socio-political sustainability of wild food gathering in urban areas. Research is guided by the overarching research question ‘How sustainable is gathering wild foods in urban areas?’, which is investigated through adapting a conceptual framework for sustainable gathering so far used in rural areas of countries in the global south. Investigating sustainable gathering in urban areas in Europe is innovative from the ground up. It fosters the sustainable provision, processing and consumption of local resources, as supported by the concept of bioeconomy, and the attainment of the UN Sustainable development goals 11 and 12. Research is conducted in Vienna, Austria, along a sequential exploratory mixed-methods design. Semi-structured expert interviews with 30 local experts for wild food gathering, are followed-up with several hundred face-to-face surveys with urban gatherers in eight gathering hotspots in urban and suburban green spaces.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-09-01 - 2023-08-31

EdiCitNet develops a reference framework on nature-based Edible City Solutions (ECS) for inclusive urban regeneration. It draws upon the vast pool of knowledge and practice of these re-conceptualised NBS, prospering to benefit of communities. More food consumed in the city is grown, produced and processed locally will foster social cohesion by encouraging ‘communities of practice’ and reduce the ecological footprint of cities. Planning for and implementing successfully proven ECS enhance overall urban resilience. EdiCitNet builds a constantly self-learning network of cities. The EdiCitNet consortium brings together city authorities, local NGOs, innovative SMEs and research partners from Europe, America, Africa and Asia, thereby laying the basis for a future global market place of ECS.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2019-01-07 - 2021-09-06

Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS): Facts and fiction on the concept of participation Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) are a new concept which shall ensure that requirements for the quality of organically produced food are met. PGS are used for local markets and emphasize active participation of a broad base of local actors engaged throughout the organic value chain. Promoters of PGS assume that this type of guarantee assurance is cheaper, less bureaucratic or more capable of promoting rural development. PGS are framed by their promoters as more effective and efficient alternative to product certification carried out by accredited, independent organic certification bodies, which is currently established in law as guarantee assurance mechanism for organic products. Research on PGS has just started and many phenomena linked to and paramount for PGS are not yet studied. This project will examine how PGS-participation is perceived by PGS-members, why they participate or not participate and which benefits and costs drawn from their participation PGS-members perceive. In addition, PGS-participation will be described and analyzed from a scientific point of view and the effect of participation or non-participation in the PGS on the claimed benefits of PGS (e.g. increased trust in products) will be assessed. Framing participation in PGS in a broader context of activities which are not related to the PGS but may compete with PGS-activities for PGS-members’ time resources and within the broader political and institutional context and structural forces in place will allow us to identify factors hindering and facilitating actor participation in the PGS. For this purpose, qualitative interviews, surveys, participant and non-participant observation and focus groups will be used as data collection methods and applied in each two PGS initiatives in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, Bolivia and Ecuador. Deliverables of the project will be relevant as PGS have hardly been addressed in scientific literature so far. Although actor participation is a paramount element of PGS, it has not yet been studied on a broad basis. Project outcomes shall deepen our understanding of actor participation in PGS. The topic is of high relevance beyond the context of PGS as well, as participation is an important concept in a wide array of social processes. Consequently, by studying PGS we expect further insights for rural development beyond certification in organics.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations