Urban agriculture (UA) is an industry located within (intraurban) or on the fringe (periurban) of a town, a city or a metropolis, which grows or raises, processes and distributes a diversity of food and non-food products, (re-)using largely human and material resources, products and services found in and around that urban area, and in turn supplying human and material resources, products and services largely to that area. Urban farms already supply food to about 25% of the world’s urban population. Due to the increased urbanization, UA has become more popular in the past few decades as concerns for the environment, food sustainability and resilience have combined with increased interest in health.
The principle of UA to exploit small plots is especially important for WB countries where average farm size is small and it is usually divided into an average 10 plots (B&H ≤2 ha-67.38%, MN ≤2 ha-65.9% and XK ≤3 ha-69.86%). Those labor intense micro-farms organized as agricultural households are characterized by small financial input and with low level of equipment thus resulting in low yields. Their level of vegetable self-consumption in agricultural households is high (potatoes 32.2%, onions 25.8%, beans 20.1%). Surplus is sold at the green open markets utilizing short food supply chains. While percentage of municipal agricultural land is high (Sarajevo 35%, Podgorica 42.9%, Pec 51.83%), concept of urban farms doesn’t exist in national registries thus urban planning, UA strategies, business models and revenues potentials are unexplored. This emerging agricultural production has high economic potential and requires a set of new skills that are more related with social competences (cross cultural communication, social inclusiveness) and social role of agriculture (poverty reduction, increase of quality of life) rather than with pure technological skills. This economic activity is based on new business concepts and it is both (smart) work and knowledge intensive.
BUGI project will develop new UA master study curriculum and LLL program, based on national strategies, farmers and entrepreneurial sector needs analysis, develop new city-adjusted farm strategies, provide modern teaching tools and foster the transfer of knowledge, skills and technologies to 5 WB HEIs. New, competence based curriculum will be interdisciplinary, foster HEIs internationalization process and provide learning flexibility and mobility. By doing so, project will increase capacities, sustainability, visibility and attractiveness of WB HEIs while diversifying employment opportunities and social inclusiveness. Project will contribute to students/trainees employability, develop new networks and alternative food supply chains for farmers and conduct campaigns targeting important stakeholders. Project outcomes will enhance urban sustainability and green economy development in WB countries with inclusion of entrepreneurial sector.