An important question for Hungary can also be how once flourishing industrial cities – let’s think of Ózd or Dunaújváros – can be reconsidered with the decline of industry and brought into the 21st century with creative solutions. Since our country is an EU member state, it might be worthwhile to see how other cities are trying to solve similar problems using EU resources. The EU Cities Forum 2023 this year’s host was Turin, a city that has been trying to escape the shadow of the Fiat factory for a decade.
Since the 1990s, Turin has been trying to transform itself from an automotive center into a city of innovation and culture, as the city has one of the most interesting food systems in Italy, which includes the local food and gastronomic culture, innovative food businesses, and important, national and it also affects influential actors in international, cultural and political terms. Torino continuously supports a number of practices, projects and policies to make the food system more sustainable and just, related to the many dimensions of food production, such as environment, culture, economy, health and social and territorial justice.
The Municipality of Turin in collaboration with local partners – Fondazione della Comunità di Mirafiori (FCM), University of Turin (Università di Torino – UNITO), University of Gastronomic Sciences (Università di Scienze Gastronomiche di Pollenzo – UNISG), Orti Generali (OG) – is responsible for the Turin “Food for the implementation of a project called “Innovation Living Lab”.
Within the framework of the project, experimental initiatives, environmental sustainability, support for economic development, increasing awareness of nutrition and health, and citizen participation in food culture are important. In addition, it is also a priority to support experimentation with circular business models for the production and processing of food.
Two projects receiving priority EU support deal with urban agriculture and the circular economy in Turin.
The Fiat factory was established in the Mirafiori part of the city around the 1950s, and from the 1960s many workers from southern Italy arrived here, as a result of which the population of the part of the city increased tenfold in a short time.
The local government started building tenements in the neighborhood of 40,000 people, and together with various cooperatives, 17,000 new apartments were built between 1962 and 1971. There used to be a small airport on the edge of Mirafiori, in its place a public park has now been opened and a community center has been created at the end, and beyond that there is a river valley, which set a natural limit for the expansion of the houses. The valley and the surrounding lankas are now officially city parks, where the municipality started a special experiment. In previous decades, organized gardening here was well founded by the fact that those coming from the south themselves tried to do the backyard farming necessary for the peasant lifestyle on a small scale.
Here, on the edge of the quarter, is the urban garden of the Orti Generali project, the aim of which is to create a social enterprise model for the transformation and management of the city’s remaining agricultural areas. There are now over 150 vegetable gardens, an apiary and some Highland cattle and a learning center on the grounds. In the same neighborhood, the Fondazione della Comunità di Mirafiori, a non-profit organization founded in 2008, manages the Casa nel Parco, built in 2010, a community center dedicated to implementing food reuse and food recycling projects, and both sites are part of the circular business experiments with a model.
For these projects, it is extremely important that, where applicable, food that was treated as waste during other processes, but suitable for consumption, is utilized, and that no waste is generated during their own processes.
In order to be able to implement a project of this kind, in many cases it is necessary to involve significant external resources. In the case of Turin, the local experiments were financed in the framework of two HORIZON2020 EU projects, the city budget received 556,875 euros within the H2020 FUSILLI and 896,500 euros within the framework of the H2020 proGIreg projects.
Among the mentioned projects a FUSILLI addresses food and nutrition security challenges in urban, peri-urban and rural environments in a sustainable manner. FUSILLI’s pilot laboratory projects in twelve cities empower local communities to integrate food into their urban transformation agendas towards a healthy, sustainable, safe and inclusive urban future.
THE ProGIreg project uses nature for urban rehabilitation with and for citizens. The project is financed by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 program and will run from June 2018 to 2023. ProGIreg is “productive green infrastructure for post-industrial urban rehabilitation” (productive Green Infrastructure for post-industrial urban regeneration) abbreviation.
Within the framework of ProGIreg, innovation is currently taking place in four cities: pilot projects are being run in the post-industrial districts of Dortmund, Turin, Zagreb and China’s Ningbo, where nature-based solutions are developed, tested and implemented. Other cities also participate in the cooperation, such as Cluj, Cascais in Portugal, Piraeus in Greece and Zenica in Bosnia, which they also closely follow the results achieved in the other four cities and exchange knowledge between cities in order to promote nature-based solutions.
In the four leading cities, eight different nature-based solutions are used to create a productive, green infrastructure that not only contributes to improving living conditions and reducing vulnerability to climate change, but also provides measurable economic benefits to citizens and entrepreneurs in post-industrial neighborhoods.
The “Pizza Circolare” of Turin: Reinterpreting pizza for the circular economy
The above-mentioned principles are well symbolized by a practical solution. “Pizza Circolare” (ie circular / round pizza), a reinterpretation of one of the great classics of Italian cuisine, according to the principles of the circular economy applied to food, proposed by the University of Gastronomic Sciences and the Pollenzo FoodLab. “Pizza Circolare” is available in Turin at Mirafiori Locanda nel Parco thanks to the European project FUSILLI, which
a suburban center with its own restaurant, which also aims to help local youth learn hospitality-related trades.
As Chiara Foglietta, councilor responsible for the ecological and digital transition of the city of Turin highlights,
The circular pizza is an important part of the wider strategy that the city of Turin has been working on for some time, which aims to make the transition of the urban food system to the European Union Food 2030 accompany him towards solutions in line with his priorities.
The circular pizza is a gastronomic proposal designed in collaboration with the Pollenzo University of Gastronomic Sciences and Pollenzo FoodLab, the culinary innovation experimental and training laboratory, Locanda nel Parco, Casa nel Parco social restaurant. The innovative concept embodies the principles of the Circular Economy of Food (CEFF), which the university has supported over the years with the aim of contributing to the development of the circular economy applied to the food system.
Following the three Cs of CEFF (Capital, Cyclicity and Co-evolution, i.e. capital, circularity and co-evolution)
the pizza uses the raw materials in their entirety, avoiding the generation of waste, increasing the natural and cultural biodiversity characteristic of the area, FURTHER INVOLVING THE COMMUNITY IN THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF HUMANITY AND THE PLANET WITH A NOURISHING AND HEALTHY PRODUCT.
The first reimagined pizza recipe proposed by Locanda nel Parco reimagines the famous Quattro Stagioni (Four Seasons) pizza. The “classic” toppings such as mozzarella, tomatoes, artichokes, olives, mushrooms, cooked ham, in the new version designed by Pollenzo, are replaced by seasonal vegetables, the typical Piedmontese Mortrett cheese or Seirass del Fen, a seasoned ricotta and the former it is made with the addition of aromatic herbs from a factory-grown kitchen garden and long-fermented dough. The recipe changes every season according to the local ingredients. In its winter version, it contains broccoli, pumpkin, purple cabbage and leeks; seasonal vegetables produced in the Piedmont region.
In fact, this is not a unique mixture of its kind, but a method applied to vegetarian pizza, which the French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss called “peasant bricolage”. By this he referred to the ability of traditional societies to creatively recombine material and immaterial knowledge to get the most out of it and avoid waste.
Looking at similar initiatives, it might be worthwhile to think about how, in Hungary, urban green areas, including public parks, could be utilized in such a way that they would be of greater benefit to local communities and urban food production. There are many rural towns that have a strong industrial tradition, but for some reason – for example due to poor accessibility – no longer attract industry, but have good agricultural properties. The experience gained during the mentioned EU projects can also provide a good opportunity for these cities and, where applicable, they can be encouraged to take part in a similar initiative.
Source of the images: Miklós Kerekes / Portfolio