Urban agriculture is currently in the full spotlight as viable intervention to improve food security among urban poor, prevent heat islands while creating a pleasant environment in predominantly grey cities. Yet, achieving these objectives requires well-informed decision makers that have to allocate expensive land to gardens.
Our initiative of improving urban food systems develops an analytical framework to optimize allocation of urban gardens in cities of Benin. Next to two pilot sites, surveys among experienced gardeners and interviews with policy makers, the initiative designs a site allocation tool that supports decision makers on selection of areas for urban gardens. The tool uses a formalized relationship between expert judgements on area suitability against a set of spatially explicit variables like natural resource quality, water availability, distance to markets, and safety for women.
In a three-day science shop in Benin (18th to 20th March 2019), the Amsterdam Centre for World Food Studies, the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences of University of Abomey-Calavi and ACED organized a training on the development of the site selection tool for 13 staff members. During the science shop, key variables were selected based on explanatory power and spatial availability. A field visit trained participants in suitability assessment of randomly selected sites.
We are looking forward to developing and sharing the tool soon!