Thesis

Social benefits with urban farming

Identify social benefits with activities related to cultivation of local food and urban farming.

Organization

Since several years back the concept of REKO-rings has existed in Lund. Here, concious consumers buy products directly from the farmers/producers and by doing so they support local and small businesses. The producers and consumers are communicating by using a facebook group.  The purpose of REKO-rings is to remove all the middlemen and intermediaries to enable more sustainable purchases and to help both farmers and consumers to be more sustainable.

The price is usually the same as the price in traditional supermarkets. However, the quality is better, the food more fresh and the farmers' wages more fair. By buying local food the consumers are also able "to get to know their food" and can ask questions to the farmer in person.

Task

There is an increasing interest in farming near/in cities, so called urban farming/gardens and community gardens. Many cities are interested in increasing the areas of green and blue infrastructure and ecosystem services in the city because of the multiple benefits they are proven to generate.  So far there are not much evidence and research on how community gardens, cultivation acitivites and food production can lead to mulitple social benefits for the members participating and for people spending time on cultivation and farming. It has been easier to study all ecological benefits from urban farming but more seldom are social aspects adressed. Social aspects should be studied more in depth, such as if farming can improve health? Can it provide a feeling of security and a sense of community and belonging? Can it create tomorrows new, smal-scale farmers?

Håkan Rasmusson is the main administrator of REKO-rings in Lund and he has one of the largest meeting point at his farm in Värpinge, just outside Lund. There, he is running his own company and farm and is producing a large amount of products that he sells to consumers using REKO-rings. On his farm he has a social enterpise called  Värpinge Grön LivsCultur AB where the surplus is reinvested in the buisness. He has a collaboration with Socialförvaltningen (the social administration in Sweden) and has offered work integration, language training and employment through cultivation activities.

Håkan would like to examine how all activities at the farm and the REKO-rings can generate social benefits for people involved. The purpose is to examen both the perspective of the citizens and what the municiplaty "earns" when it comes to improved health, citizen engagement etc.

How are REKO-rings and the farm's activities generating benefits as for example improved health, social security, increased integration and rehabilitation?  With the idea of "growing people", Håkan believes that REKO-rings can make farmers catalysators and that they can become an important role in increasing local produced food and cultivation, but also making it possible for people with different backgrounds to meet and socialize.

You will alone or together with a classmate carrying out your thesis with focus on what social benefits can be generated by people spending time on farming and similar activities. What are the factors that create the social value? What are the social benefits? What actors should be involved to generate multiple benefits and are there barriers and challenges?

First you will examine previous activities undertaken at Håkan's farm in Värpinge and also more in detail study the concept of REKO-rings and what social benefits they generate. This by for example conducting interviews with stakeholders and people participating in the different activities related to farming and cultivation. You will then study other actors and organisations  who are arranging similar activities and who are working with the social dimentions. Eventually you might find common factors for the different organisations/initiatives. The aim of the thesis is to identify, and potentially, develope a collaboration model of how you in the best way can enable urban and local farming that generates social benefits. The project will help REKO-rings in Lund to know what other actors they could be in collboration with to enable more activities and to develop REKO rings as concept and place to meet. In a bigger picture, the project will be an important contribution to research within the field of what social benefits are generated by nature and cultivation.

Final research questions and scope are decided in consultation with the supervisor and REKO-rings in Lund.

Company REKO-ring Lund
Requirements Education with relevance to the project, for example environmental science, students studying the master's program in Environmental studies and sustainability science (LUMES) or Environmental Management and Policy (EMP).
Scope Bachelor's or master's thesis, 15 and 30 hp respectively.
Location Värpinge
Contact

Frida Hansson
frida@miljobron.se
0760345141