BUGI study visit to Ruhr Metropolitan Area, Germany
In July 2018, 21 academics from the five Western Balkan universities from Sarajevo and Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Donja Gorica (Montenegro), and Prishtina and Peje (Kosovo) visit South-Westphalia University of Applied Sciences in Soest and the nearby Ruhr Metropolitan Area. This polycentric agglomeration is the largest metropolitan area in Germany. However, urban and peri-urban agriculture are still playing an important role. Farmers are taking chance of the nearby consumers in the cities to adjust their business strategies to the urban demands and consumer preferences. This market orientation on local marketing avoids competition with the global market, which is characterised by efficient and long value chains and low margins. At the study visit the group visited successful examples of urban and peri-urban farming in the Ruhr Metropolitan Area, for example an organic vegetable farm at the outskirts of Dortmund, which is marketing directly via an on-farm shop, farmer markets, delivery services, and box schemes. Furthermore, they offer jobs for disadvantaged people. Another visited farm with a small on-farm café and shop sells eggs from two hen mobile units via a 24/7 vending machine. Further farms we have visited during the stay are a Community Supported Agriculture and Aquaponics.