The Food 4 Thought project research phase looked into the existing practices of Urban Agriculture indicating the level of recognition (social, cultural and institutional) it has among urban dwellers. Our team of researchers has summarised top ten best practices that galvanise the green movement.
1. SofiaPlan – Mapping Suitable Plots for Urban Agriculture
SofiaPlan’s Development of Urban Agriculture in Sofia, Bulgaria, is a pioneering initiative that utilises digital mapping and urban planning to identify and promote urban agriculture (UA) spaces. Over the course of 5 years, urban specialists have meticulously mapped approximately 1720 potential UA plots based on specific criteria, offering an accessible online resource for UA enthusiasts and initiatives. This digital map not only facilitates UA development but also encourages participation among youth and adults while showcasing existing UA practices in the city. Affiliated with Sofia Municipality, SofiaPlan ensures that UA is integrated into broader urban development plans, making it a valuable model for sustainable urban agriculture practices in other cities.
2. Urban Agriculture in Sofia – Research and Collection of Practices
The Urban Agriculture initiative in Sofia, Bulgaria, conducted by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences over a 6-year period, is a multifaceted project with a strong focus on research and practical application. This ongoing effort seeks to improve the quality of life in urban communities through urban agriculture (UA). The research encompasses qualitative studies of the socioeconomic, natural, and institutional contexts of UA development in Sofia, involving interviews, expert opinions, focus groups, and environmental assessments. Additionally, a quantitative study gauges citizen attitudes toward UA practices in various urban zones. Notably, the initiative has enabled UA in a school for children with hearing disabilities, fostering sustainable food production education. Led by a diverse team of experts, this publicly funded project emphasises the importance of UA for urban sustainability and community development. It offers a comprehensive online platform, featuring quantitative and qualitative research, case studies, and a space for UA initiatives registration, all aimed at promoting UA practices and their positive impact on urban life. For more information, visit Urban Agriculture in Sofia.
3. The Glowing Classroom – School Garden
“The Growing Classroom” at 107 “Khan Krum” Primary School in Sofia, Bulgaria, is a pioneering initiative that leverages an organic garden as an educational tool. Over the course of eight years, it has enhanced the quality of children’s education by offering practical lessons on nature, plant growth, environmental stewardship, and organic food. The project’s collaborative approach involving students, parents, and the community demonstrates the potential of urban agriculture and permaculture as effective learning tools in educational settings, serving as an inspiration for similar initiatives in schools and educational centres. For more information, visit The Growing Classroom.
4. Organic Garden Vitosha – Permaculture Community Garden
Located in the “Vitosha” neighbourhood of Sofia, Bulgaria, is a thriving community-led initiative adjacent to a residential block, operating since June 2014. This grassroots project focuses on permaculture practices for growing vegetables, herbs, and more, with the primary aim of enhancing the well-being and community development of adult participants who initiated the creation of this green urban space. The project, facilitated by the “Mtel Eco Grant,” has successfully built a local offline community around the vegetable garden, benefiting not only direct participants and their families but also the wider neighbourhood. Moreover, an online community shares knowledge on permaculture, local plant benefits, recipes, and other urban agriculture (UA) projects from around the country and the world. The leaders of Organic Garden Vitosha actively participate in permaculture events, farmers’ markets, and food utilisation workshops, making it a remarkable grassroots movement promoting environmental care and individual well-being. For more information, visit Organic Garden Vitosha on Facebook.
5. Urban Agriculture – 3C Humana Varna
A pioneering initiative based in Varna, Bulgaria, under the stewardship of HUMANA People to People Bulgaria, operating since 2020 and ongoing. This program focuses on urban agriculture, primarily targeting enthusiasts with the goal of establishing a thriving UA practice within a two-year span while concurrently offering training seminars. One distinctive feature is its emphasis on community empowerment to ensure the long-term sustainability of the project. The initiative has successfully engaged a diverse demographic, encompassing adults, children, and youngsters, by providing essential training and arable land for plant cultivation. Through private financing, 2000 square meters of land have been transformed into productive arable space. The initiative conducts interviews and comprehensive training for activists who wish to join, fostering a sense of community transcending age and social status. By enhancing food security, improving UA skills through training, and promoting community building, “Urban Agriculture – 3C Humana Varna” is not only contributing to sustainable urban agriculture but also enriching the lives of its participants. For more information, visit 3C Humana Varna on Facebook or HUMANA People to People Bulgaria.
Other best practices include:
7. Garden Fellowship
8. Experimental field Vrazhdebna
9. CityZen Project
10. Multi Kulti Garden