HomeSustainable Urban Agricultures: Vector for the Ecological Transition

HomeSustainable Urban Agricultures: Vector for the Ecological Transition

Sustainable Urban Agricultures: Vector for the Ecological Transition

Agricultures urbaines durables : vecteur pour la transition écologique

*  *  *

Published on Tuesday, January 24, 2017


The international congress “Sustainable Urban Agricultures” proposes six scientific sessions, each with sub-sessions (exposures, discussions around posters, visits: collective gardens, aquaponics farm, etc.) and roundtable discussions (Research-Education-Employment) that bring together the various stakeholders (farmers, researchers, politicians, students, associations, consultants).



According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 60% of humanity lives in urban areas and forecasts for 2050 are 80% (with + 3 billion people on earth). The development of urban agriculture (UA) is one of the keys to food survival of humanity. Many UA projects are therefore developing in the world: aquaponics productions, vertical farms, gardens collective possibly rooftop, fruit trees in collective housing…Multidisciplinary innovations optimize the efficiency of urban metabolism, promote sustainable food in connection with the circular economy, the quality of food production and ecosystem and participate the well-being (social, health for all, edible landscapes, etc.). In France, the new “Occitanie Region” (Midi-Pyrénées & Languedoc-Roussillon) develops advanced agriculture (1st French region for organic farming and crop area; 1st world vineyard area for original wines). Following the workshops on UA (INPT-ENFA-UPS, Toulouse 2014 & 2015), the international network Agriville ( was set up, it offers a participatory and interactive platform "Teaching and Research; Science and Society” that addresses the multifaceted UA.

The international congress “Sustainable Urban Agricultures” proposes 6 scientific sessions, each with 3 sub-sessions (exposures, discussions around posters, visits: collective gardens, aquaponics farm, etc.) and roundtable discussions (Research-Education-Employment) that bring together the various stakeholders (farmers, researchers, politicians, students, associations, consultants).

  • Session 1 : Urban Agronomy
  • Session 2 : Urban planning and practices with agriculture
  • Session 3 : Environment and health
  • Session 4 : Circular economy : Urban metabolism and eco-engineering.
  • Session 5 : Ecological Transition
  • Session 6 : Urban agriculture (UA) in vocational teaching

The congress aims at a scientific valorization (special review Vertigo, proceedings of the symposium, SEGH ...) and pedagogical multi-media (Educagri works, platform Agriville...).

Session 1 - Urban Agronomy

Urban agriculture (AU) is a "countryside extract" that penetrates the city and reactivates the utopia of the fertile city. They express the necessary multifunctionality (due to land pressure) of urban spaces: food - leisure - social link - well-being for all - sustainable management of the environment - waste reduction and valorization through composting, aquaponics, Creation of crop supports (eg lasagna crops), etc. They also establish the diversification of land uses in agglomeration. Several urban agriculture (AU) stands out. If collective gardens are a symbol, (Dumat et al., 2015), AU expresses itself differently in its actions and intentions.

Urban professional agriculture is carried by farmers, very often vegetables producers, sometimes beekeepers or breeders of small animals such as chickens (Chenot et al., 2013). These agricultures pursue an intention of production, often food, sometimes horticultural. They maintain an economic and commercial relationship with the city, their main consumer market.

Unprofessional urban agriculture is highly publicized because of the social dynamics they generate (collective neighborhood gardens) or their originality of structure (roof gardens, sheep that graze in public parks, etc.) or production (rare vegetables). These crops can be productive, but they are extremely efficient in terms of social, environmental and landscape services. The UAs sensitize the inhabitants to the link "environment-health" with significant spillovers on social practices, consumption or sustainable management of the soil. They are generally carried by the voluntary sector and / or social agencies and the communities that use them to promote social ties, or as a lever to integrate or educate children in the environment. Associations often use them in opposition to the intensive model of agricultural production to promote the pleasure of producing oneself without synthetic chemical inputs.

In general, areas cultivated in AU are relatively small (a few hundred m2) compared to traditional agriculture (several hectares). Technological and architectural prowess are developed to remedy the lack of space and optimize the flow of energy, equipment. Hydroponic cultivation on vertical trusses or other devices enhances limited soil surfaces. Knowledge of soil-plant-atmosphere transfers of chemicals is necessary to assess and control the health risks more frequent in highly anthropized urban areas. According to the techniques of cultivation, it may be necessary to control the quality of the production medium (soil, atmosphere, water of irrigation, supports of crops). Finally, the density of the urban population encourages the reduction of the use of phytosanitary products to limit the risks linked to exposure to these products. Urban agriculture is therefore often biological and then valorizes various organic waste (waste of size, composts...). Information and the collective construction of UA projects are crucial steps: urban agricultural projects are multidisciplinary and they come under the policy of the city and the dynamics of the public space.

The AU-2017 international symposium will promote socio-scientific exchanges between researchers and other stakeholders (farmers, elected officials, etc.) on research and techniques developed for sustainable urban agriculture: agro-ecology, organic farming, and innovative agriculture in soil or above ground (vertical farms, aquapony ...).

Session 2 - Urban planning and practices with agriculture

Agriculture takes part in urban making. Nowadays, urban planning seeks agricultural solutions (Poulot, 2014) for several reasons, including enforcement of a strong community-based identity or the structuring by ecological networks like “blue” or “green” grids. Urban agriculture gives people the opportunity for a renewed contact with the countryside within town boundaries.

Agricutural spaces hitherto untouched by a process of systematic artificialization, much used in urban planning, gardens and built areas, can help shaping new metropoles, less mineral and more natural, using those open spaces (Chalas, 2011).

Urban agriculture resuscitates the fertile and self-sufficient city utopia (Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine, 2011), a town no longer residential-only but expressing the multifonctionality of the spaces it is composed of.

Thus, urban agriculture encourages mixing built spaces with farmed ones, organizes the hybridity and “binding” in the wake of a new city planning. The project is now agri-urban. From then on, urban agriculture manages for new landscaping and aesthetics into town. “Town takes hold of agriculture to renew its shaping” (Martin, 2013). Agricultural nature not only creates new scenery and panoramas, but it also fills a social demand to re-create “closeness with farmers that has vanished with time” (Mendras, 1967). It indeed gives a sense of proximity with the land, and more widely with an idealized contryside.

The "urban planning" session proposes to question urban agriculture through five entries

  1. Agri-urban project and land use. The focus is on spaces building and landscape planning. Management strategies and choices will be at stake: land tenure (preservation, re-allocation), use of public policy regulation and zoning tools (ZAP, PAEN, etc.). We will discuss the (wel)coming back of agriculture into town and debate from experiences at metropolitan level.
  2. Hybridization. We will question urban agriculture through community dynamics and interactions, complementarity and the emerging of a new urban-rural dialogue. We are concerned with the transgression of geographical boundaries, the construction of space alliances, the interpenetration of spaces.
  3. Urban agriculture-nature-society, aims to discuss the relationship between urban dwellers and nature and the claim for an agricultural nature. Here, we want to clarify new desires and relationships to the living areas (ways of life and practices); understand representations and explain expectations in order to discuss, on a broader scale, the place and role of nature in the contemporary city.
  4. Reconciliation of working worlds of farmers and developers. In this section wewill propose to address management techniques, (innovative?) landscape building, and instances of including local inhabitants (knowledge sharing, “really” collective resources). In this sphere the emerging of new professional key figures.
  5. Forms of intra-urban agriculture. We will discuss the new projects arising. Are these farming experiments totally inserted in a dense urban fabric? Which projects, which kind of actors are the supports for these “agricultural relocation” schemes?

Session 3 - Environment and health : How to promote urban ecosystem services and reduce human exposure to pollutants ?

Pollutions are often observed in urban areas: near roads, agricultural and industrial activities that took place over the centuries (Douay et al, 2008; Mitchell et al, 2014). Many chemicals can circulate or accumulate in urban soils (Schwartz, 2013) and cultures (Xiong et al, 2016 Clinard et al, 2015).

Because of the complexity of bio-physicochemical mechanisms involved in the transfer of substances in terrestrial ecosystems, scientists can rarely simply answer questions about pollution (Goix et al, 2015). Promote the development of techniques to monitor, assess and manage pollution and its impacts is therefore a major scientific and social challenge. Operational collaboration between researchers, citizens and managers is therefore crucial for the health and environment (Dumat et al., 2015). Indeed, environmental regulations if it evolves, remains incomplete: for example, there are no French regulatory threshold values for total concentrations of pollutants in soils (Mombo et al, 2015) and in Europe, lead, cadmium and mercury (EC No 466/2001) are the only regulated metals in foods marketed.

Reliable assessment of human health risks from exposure to pollutants in soils depends on their bioavailability. Because in vivo animal assays to estimate pollutant bioavailability are costly, in vitro assays have been developed to measure oral bioaccessibility. Information on pollutant bioaccessibility to humans, in contrast to total contaminant concentrations: (i) offers an effective decision-support tool and an opportunity to better refine contaminant exposure assessments and aid decision-making, and (ii) can therefore promote a more proportionate and cost-effective assessment of contaminated land (Alexander, 2000; Brandon et al., 2006; Ollson et al., 2009).

In that context, the session 3 will examine more particularly for oral exposure the following skills: (a) Strategies to reconciling urban production quality and environmental pollutions ; (b) How to communicate effectively with different stakeholders on risk management ? (c) Assessment and management of nutrients/pollutants flows in the environment and human exposure.

Session 4 - Circular economy: Urban metabolism and eco-engineering.

Urban development tends to produce significant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, concrete and materials used to build homes and infrastructure with a strong carbon footprint.

The city consumes and dissipates large amounts of energy, it produces a lot of waste. Economic growth and urbanization in developing countries are responsible for two thirds of GHG emissions each year (Van Eeckhout, 2015). In coordination with the private sector, and by developing adequate land-use planning, cities can develop more sustainable, low-carbon infrastructure, experts at the World Economic Forum argue.

To meet these infrastructure needs, they call on cities to rely on public-private partnerships. Most governments face severe budget constraints. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), electricity, transport, telecommunications and water treatment needs would represent 3.5% of global GDP by 2030, $ 71 trillion (€ 61 trillion). The city place of all consumptions and all releases. The urban metabolism of the Brussels Capital Region (Ecores, Iced, ULB, with the participation of INDDIGO 2015) shows the intensity of the consumption of matter and energy of a metropolis. Food flows are imported in quantity, in the same way as building materials.

The city consumes the materials and energy necessary for its life and rejects the waste produced by its consumption. This open loop operation, based on a linear approach, makes it vulnerable and dependent on its "suppliers" and waste outlets, their durability (social acceptability ...). In situ production of locally consumed food resources using resources produced by the city itself (organic amendments, heat fluxes) is one of the prospects for creating a loop for this flow of food materials. The circular economy is based on several types of tools. The re-use of consumer goods, but also of infrastructure, is one. The need for urban agriculture, which is very rare in urban areas, can be met in the reuse of urban or industrial wasteland. Finally, the eco-design of the building, another variation of the circular economy (ADEME 2015) in town planning, can integrate food production in its design logics.

The AU-2017 international congress will promote socio-scientific exchanges between researchers and other stakeholders, relating to: urban metabolism, in particular reflections on the eco-design of the various materials and articles used in cities or the efficient management of organic waste Urban areas.

Session 5 - Ecological Transition

The ecological transition is constructed in the dynamics of territories in which civil society plays a major role, which is observed particularly in the field of urban agriculture (AU). These new forms of agriculture, carrying new practices and new models, potentially represent a major place for the reconstruction of contemporary criticism. With the AU boom that has to be associated with social concerns for sustainable development and nature, food crisis crises, and which question "forms of food production and their location" (Granchamp, 2013), the city gradually becomes a "gardened" territory encrusted with small vegetable plots or larger market gardens (Chenot et al., 2014).

The democratic dimension of the ecological transition is unanimously noted (Juan, 2010) as a major issue. In his book "Democracy in the Field", Zask (2016) concludes that relations between farmers and cultivated land (shared, local, ecological, traditional, rational, diversified, family ...) favor the formation of citizenship. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO, 2015), UA concerns one in four citizens. Indeed, on a world scale, humans reside mostly in cities and the intense urbanization begun in 1950 continues: in 2050, the planet will have 6.4 billion urban, or more than 75% of the world's population. In addition, the World Economic Forum (WEF, 2015) reports that 40% of urban growth is currently in slums. The urban consciousness of the crucial importance of places of humanity in the city, of a quality food, the preservation of natural resources and of biodiversity, contributes to the development of the UA as a vector of Democratic Ecology.

This session 5 will be particularly open to the various actors (elected representatives, associations, research offices, etc.) who will also participate actively in the round tables. Its ambition is to highlight the research and science and society projects related to urban agriculture as a vector of ecological transition. In particular, papers related to urban agriculture will focus on oral communications :

  1. Sustainable food and short circuits;
  2. Sustainable management of the quality of environments: regulation, standardization, remediation, lack of regulation ...;
  3. Contestation and / or cooperation: the involvement of different stakeholders in the UA, collaborative projects Science & Society ...;
  4. Ecological inequalities (resources, gender ...) and
  5. Social innovation!

Session 6 - Urban agriculture (UA) in vocational teaching

Urban agriculture is an object for study and research. It attracts scientits’ from different fields (see the other UA symposium sessions). But it is also a subject of interest for training: urban agriculture is now being added to the curricula of Ministry of Agriculture vocational schools, and in engineering schools such as INP-ENSAT in Toulouse or ENSP in Versailles. It is also present in vocational curricula at the university (in both license and master). Urban agriculture renders it possible to discuss agri-urban regional planning, ecosystemic services, agricultural production and CSA engineering, to suggest croping techniques or landscape issues etc. We must also take into account students expectations. More and more of them have internships dealing with these issues of developing of urban agriculture.

This session is therefore aimed at teachers, vocational trainers and students. It is an opportunity to "give them the floor" to present training experiences, internships, specific courses or curriculum conception. This 6th session is an opportunity to show links between research and training concerns and to reveal how knowledge is spread. These papers will also contribute to debates during the round table devoted to the linkage between research and training and it may end up in a book, published by Educagri éditions, intended for teachers in order to help them in developing both theoretical and practical classes on urban agriculture. Our goal is to desing a teaching resources in touch with teachers’ needs.

Proposals for communication, instructions for authors

Proposals may be in French or English, including a title, authors' names and affiliations, maximum 6 keywords and a summary not exceeding 2 pages maximum, including bibliography. Please specify the desired presentation format: oral or poster. Proposals must be sent

before 1st march 2017

as a PDF file depending on the session:

  • S1,
  • S2,
  • S3,
  • S4,
  • S5,
  • S6,

Calendar, deadlines

  • Submission of abstracts: opening January 1, 2017
  • Deadline for abstract submission March 1, 2017
  • Response to the authors April 8, 2017
  • Registration start date February 16, 2017
  • Deadline for registration and payment meals May 26, 2017
  • Presentation and program April 14, 2017

Scientific committee

  • Duchemin E. (UQAM, Canada)
  • DR Hinsinger P. (INRA, ESE, Montpellier-France)
  • PR Cortet (University, CEFE, Montpellier-France)
  • Dr Alleto L., Dr Bertoni G. & Dr Jacquin A. (University, Dynafor, Toulouse-France)
  • PR Motelica M. (University, ISTO, Orléans-France)
  • Dr Quenea K. (University, Metis, Paris-France)
  • PR Schwartz C. (University Lorraine, INRA)
  • PR Jaillet MC. (University UT2J, Lisst, France)
  • Dr Bories O. (ENSFEA, Lisst DR, France)
  • DR Monique Toublanc (ENSP, LAREP)
  • Dr Consales JN. (Univ. Aix, Telemme, France)
  • Dr Duvernoy I. (INRA, Agir, Toulouse-France)
  • PR Hiner Colleen C. (Texas State University, USA)
  • Dr Gambino M. (University UT2J, Lisst DR)
  • PR Carlos J. (University, Spain)
  • PR E. Stefaniak (University, Poland)
  • Dr Shahid M. (University, Pakistan)
  • Dr Schreck E. (University, GET, France)
  • PR Feidt C. (University, URAFPA, France)
  • PR Li ZA (CAS, China)
  • PR Dumat C. (University, CERTOP, France)
  • Dr Sobanska S. (CNRS, France)
  • Dr Pelfrêne A. (ISA, LGCgE, France)
  • Dr Aubry C. (INRA, SAD-APT, Paris-France)
  • PR Lepengue N. (University, Africa)
  • Dr Adoue C. (Indiggo, France)
  • PR Bourg D. (University, Swiss)
  • Dr Mombo (University, Africa)
  • Dr Foucault Y. (Bureaux Veritas, France)
  • Dr Beaudet L. (UPSP Ephor, Agrocampus Ouest, Angers)
  • Dubbeling M. Director RUAF-Foundation (Sustainable UA and Food systems)
  • DR Darmon N. (INRA, France)
  • Dr Montalban B. (University, Spain)
  • Dr Sochacki L., Dr Crivellari P., Dr Busca D. & PR Dumat C. (University, CERTOP, France)
  • Dr Xiong T. (University, China)
  • DR Austruy A. (Institut Ecocitoyen, France)
  • PR Guetat H., ENSFEA,

Organizing Committee

  • F. Denuc (CPRS- UT2J)
  • C. Jareno & F. David (SaluTerre, scop)
  • A. Bispo & I. Feix (ADEME)
  • F. Chevalarias & A. Pierart (Réseau-Agriville)
  • O. Bories & JM Cazenave (LISST DR, ENSFEA)
  • G. Bertoni & L. Beaudeigne (ENSAT)
  • A. Razous (CERTOP, UT2)
  • P. Crivalleri & L. Sochacki (CERTOP, IUT)
  • C. Dumat (CERTOP, ENSAT)
  • C. Ortega & C. Romain (GreenMyCity)
  • Y. Ardourel (Association FReDD Film, Recherche, Développement Durable, UT2) 


  • Université Toulouse Jean-Jaurès - 5 allées antonio machado
    Toulouse, France (31)


  • Wednesday, March 01, 2017


  • agronomie, agriculture urbaine, économie circulaire, environnement, santé, éducation, formation, projet urbain, aménagement, transition écologique


  • Sylvie Fernandes
    courriel : recherche [at] ensfea [dot] fr

Information source

  • Sylvie Fernandes
    courriel : recherche [at] ensfea [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Sustainable Urban Agricultures: Vector for the Ecological Transition », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, January 24, 2017,

Archive this announcement

  • Google Agenda
  • iCal
Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search