The Master of Science in Urban Agriculture & Green Cities, launched last year, gives students the opportunity to develop flagship projects with local stakeholders in Normandy.
This year, two UniLaSalle students were pleased to be asked to carry out a study for the Seine Normandy Urban Community: « The Normandy Urban Community approached us to work on a project with the aim of preserving agricultural land in the Vernon urban and peri-urban area and providing residents with local and organic produce , » explains Danielle Faye, a student on the MSc Urban Agriculture & Green Cities. « The local councilors are trying to establish an effective balance between urban development and the preservation of existing agricultural areas. » The local population in the Vernon urban area is also keen to eat more healthily and to consume more local produce. The students’ research will help address these issues in a constructive way, by identifying effective strategies.
« This work would not have been possible without the contribution of local stakeholders like the Land Development and Rural Settlement Company, Terres de Liens Normandie, Biocoop, and the gardeners’ association « Le Potagiste », » continues Danielle. « After a series of fruitful discussions, we were able to lay the foundations for a joint approach and a comprehensive strategy. »
Two areas for reflection
The completed study, which contains various proposals for the protection of agricultural land and the development of short supply chains, was presented by the students to a committee of councilors and members of the Rouen Normandy Metropolitan Area and the Seine Normandy Urban Community. « We focused our attention on two possibilities: the creation of a protected area for agricultural land, aimed at vegetable producers, and the conversion of brownfields into areas for soilless culture using aquaponics and/or hydroponics. »
The students’ work was well received by all the partners in the Seine Normandy Urban Community, as well as their supervisors. For the students, this recognition was extremely valuable. « We saw this project as an opportunity to strengthen our knowledge and understanding of the various stakeholders involved in a local area, and to see how they work together in the specific field of market gardening and short supply chains. It was also a real privilege to work with serious professionals who are passionate about what they do. »