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The viability of urban market gardening in the test of employment



ID: <10670/1.ykz646>·DOI: <10.1051/cagri/2019005>


These years have been characterised by the (re-) emergence of a variety of forms of urban agriculture with multiple functions, which involve, inter alia, the development of professional activities. It was against this background that, from 2015 to 2018, two participatory research and action projects were set up in Brussels. Their aim is to look at the specific features of setting up in urban areas and to lay the foundations for a reflection on the viability of market gardening on small areas and on the sustainability of agricultural production systems. The installation phase is the subject of particular attention within these two projects. Rooted in a transdisciplinary logic, research schemes strengthen the reflexibility of market gardeners and their ability to identify the nodes they face in their career path. “Node” means a thematic set of tensions, compromises and/or adjustments that market gardeners have had to play in operationalising their aspirations. Three thematic nodes were presented and discussed: land access strategies, mechanisation dilemma and the mobilisation of voluntary labour. Market gardens in the start-up phase are testing different strategies in order to achieve short-term viability without fully disconnecting the nodes mentioned. Our work makes it possible to argue that the multitude of challenges to be resolved in order to move towards a sustainable project in the long term go far beyond the challenges of market gardeners in installation and also involves (re) building a community of practices and establishing a favourable legal, financial and political framework.

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