Spain: NEIKER-Tecnalia offers support to create urban orchards

The Basque Institute of Agricultural Research and Development, NEIKER-Tecnalia, in partnership with Tecnalia Research & Innovation, is offering Town Councils an integral support service to their initiatives on urban orchard-gardens. The service includes the selection of their ideal location, design, installation and monitoring. After analysing the presence/lack of pollutants in the ground, its biodiversity, agricultural suitability and capacity to absorb CO2, the plan includes the design and setting-up of these orchard-gardens with sustainable agricultural practices that minimise their impact on the environment. Additionally, training is offered to their users to enable them to carry out basic analyses of the ground in the future. Santurtzi is the first municipality that makes use of this service, which has given way to 22 orchard-gardens. 

Organic orchards within urban environments represent a way to be in contact with nature, while providing educational, social, environmental, therapeutic and even financial benefits. The number of cities backing their creation, given the current housing crisis, is steadily increasing. This new use of urban ground makes it possible to recover green areas and reduce the impact of heat, while also acting as a tool against climate change. However, the proximity of industries or other potentially polluting urban activities make it necessary to conduct prior analyses of the locations intended to be used for orchard-gardens, to ensure the health of their users and lack of damage to the current biodiversity.

The integral service offered jointly by NEIKER-Tecnalia and TECNALIA Research & Innovation has three stages. The first one consists in deciding the ideal location for the garden-orchard among every possibility and to ensure the absence of pollutants, a low impact on the environment's biodiversity and the suitability of the ground. During the second stage, that of design, the goal will be to guarantee accessibility for all kinds of users and improve its ecosystemic services, minimising the need for resources and consumables. The third stage has to do with the installation and monitoring, making use of sustainable agricultural practices and offering, if necessary, training activities regarding soil health and agroecology.


Source: revistamercados.com

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