Future Perfect

Photo CC-BY-NC-ND: Nadia Mounier

Puppets Rule the Street

Young lawyer Rania Refaat uses puppet shows to educate people on the streets of Cairo about their legal rights and responsibilities.More ...
Fisherman Stan Bruno, founder and CEO of Real Good Fish Alan Lovewell, and fisherman Jerry Foster in the foreground. | Photo (CC-BY-SA): Real Good Fish

Catch of the Week

Community-supported fisheries bring the benefits of community-supported agriculture to the seas. Customers support their local economies, while receiving the freshest of seafood.More ...
Photo CC-BY-NC-SA: Tarek Marzougui

Back to organic Farming

Emma Ben-Haouala Bernegger has established her own brand of organic products in Tunisia, reviving traditional methods.More ...

Experimenting with tradition

Recycling construction waste and reviving traditional building techniques, ShamsArd studio showcases what local and sustainable architecture can mean in Palestine.More ...
Inspiring Stories founder and CEO Guy Ryan | Photo (CC-BY-ND): Inspiring Stories

The Sustainable Energy of Young Ideas

New ideas for the old world are the only way to save this planet. Thinks Daan Roosegaarde, Dutch designer and eco-conscious tech-poet.More ...
Square design for the mulberry tree outside the village of Jiala | © standardarchitects, Photo: Cheng

Culture, not Folklore

As the Chinese middle class are seeking rest and relaxation, the remote regions of their country are becoming the target of commercial schemes. But there are alternatives, architecture offices like standardarchitecture demonstrate: in their structures, local traditions meet development for tourism.More ...
Bread and Circuses, an event where bread made by the local bakery and other delicacies are served along with circus fun. | Photo (CC-BY): Anna Laakkonen / 
Rauniokaupunki

Culture in the wilds

Th eRauniokaupunki cultural association brings music and theatre to Kajaani, a town in the North of Finland, surrounded by wilderness.More ...
© Heschel Center for Sustainability

Sustainability glasses

Students from hostile sides of the Middle East learn and live together at Israel's Eastern Mediterranean International School. Their first lesson in preparation for a complex and interconnected world: trying to understand each other.
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Photo © Sören
Kittel

Back to life by bike

With his bicycle repair shop, social worker Lee Hyeong-un teaches the homeless how it feels to be a part of society. A visit in Seoul’s skyscraper canyon.More ...
Photo (CC BY-SA): FreshWater

The democratization of water

Three Chilean engineers developed FreshWater, a domestic appliance. It could grant millions of Latin Americans autonomous access to safe drinking water.More ...
Photo (CC BY-SA): POLIGON

Training ground for creative communities

IPoligon is the first creative centre in Slovenia for creative economies, social entrepreneurship, and culture.More ...
The band in front of the recording studio | © Reporterre

Can Rap Raise Awareness for the Environment?

In a disadvantaged neighborhood in the north of Marseille, magazine Reporterre used the power of rap to create a connection between environmental awareness and the residents’ everyday problems.More ...
© Architect Koen Olthuis, Waterstudio.NL

The Floating Dutchman

In the tradition of his water-taming nation, Dutchman Koen Olthuis designs floating islands to dwell and live on – not least because climate change calls for new solutions in architecture.More ...

The beauty of the periphery

Three students demonstrate how to make your own edible tableware with their project zestawZESTAW.More ...
Photo (CC BY-ND): Wesley Nel

High, not mitey!

It’s far from a dog’s life for bees living on rooftops in Melbourne, Australia, free from the Varroa mite that has afflicted the rest of the world.More ...
Photo © Lauro Rocha

Living and Learning

The Vila Flores Project revitalizes an architectural complex and facilitates cultural, social and educational projects in Rio Grande do Sul’s capital, Porto Alegre.More ...
Exchange of seeds in the 5th Region. © Red Semillas Libres Chile

Seed guardians

The inclusive, horizontal and autonomous network Red Semillas Libres Chile aims to preserve the cultural heritage that is our seed stock and to combat genetically-modified seeds and monocultures.More ...
Photo (CC BY-ND): Wesley Nel

A taller, greener future

An abandoned brewery site near the very heart of Australia’s largest city has been reborn, and it’s becoming the toast of the town.
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Photo CC-BY-NC-SA: Youth Decides

Programming Democracy

Itself an offspring of the revolution, the Youth Decides association is helping Tunisian youth take their political and economic destiny into their own hand.More ...
Picture (CC BY-NC-ND): David Borgwardt

Harvest your city

Plum trees, elder bushes, mushrooms – the city has many more food sources to offer than local supermarkets. Those who open their eyes and hearts will have a secret world reveal itself. A comic.More ...
Shijia House, Jiangxi: prototype for contemporary house based on traditional Chinese courtyard house design. © Rufwork

Between rice paddies and golf courses

A new generation of Chinese architects is working against mass development projects, in and together with the countryside. They are boosting the revalorization of China’s built cultural landscape.More ...
© Pedro Barbosa

Community Tourism in the Amazon

In Tapajós-Arapiuns, an Amazon region in the north of Brazil, a private initiative works towards making tourism a conscientious and sustainable practice in defense of the environment and local cultures.More ...
Michaela Vojtková from the group KupBook © Petra Pospěchová

Books and seniors are back in the game

There are boxes to be found in Czech cafés, acting as second hand bookshops, the books being supplied by seniors. The proceeds from the sales then finance their activities.More ...
 | Photo (CC BY-SA): Fleet Farming

Peddling a New Model of Urban Farming

Bike-riding farmers in Orlando, Florida, are helping communities produce their own food—right on their own front lawns.More ...
© Sweet Beginnings, LLC

A Tale of Pollen and Empowerment

In Chicago, Sweet Beginnings helps people returning from prison learn how to make a living with bees – changing ideas about ecology and imprisonment along the way.More ...
© Daniela Gellner

Get the Karma started!

Van Bo Le-Mentzel is tackling the big question of what makes good entrepreneurship—and he is finding the answer in the Crowd.More ...
Photo (CC): Jana Revedin/Gernot Gleiss for LOCUS Foundation

Creating Livable Spaces

Architect, scientist and author Jana Revedin champions sustainability in architecture and urban development. Her work makes a case for unhurried design and lasting quality.More ...
© Studio Roosegaarde

The Man Who Makes the Lights Come on

New ideas for the old world are the only way to save this planet. Thinks Daan Roosegaarde, Dutch designer and eco-conscious tech-poet.More ...
Photo CC-BY-NC-SA: Tarik Marzougui

Every Tunisian a horseman

Trad Ben Gobrane has launched a movement for the revalorization of the traditional Tunisian horse-related professions. For a simple idea to turn into a concrete project took great perseverance.More ...
Photo (CC): Tarik Marzougui

A Lady with many Hats

Sonia Mhamdi has taken charge of the challenges facing a run-down oasis in southern Tunisia and transformed it into a new center of production center and hope.More ...
© Takuya Suzuki

“Don´t make it too neat!“

Not much space is needed to feel the energy of local plant seeds, as the Japanese participants of the miniature garden-workshop SEEDS OF LIFE experience.More ...
© Géza Talabér

Wedding high-tech and traditional materials

Architect Péter Pozsár is on a mission to ease social woes in eastern Hungary: building 7,000 new homes in five years while lowering the region’s high unemployment rates.More ...
left

Thinking Outside of the Box

Doing something new with old boxes– Carton plein 75, an association for professional integration through valorisation and reuse of moving boxes. – Photo: Carton PleinMore ...
Zuzana and Helena selling vegan dishes. Photo (CC): Zdeňka Hanáková

Looking into each other's eyes

When homeless women cook for the public, the prejudices melt. Jako doma, a Prague NGO, gives the stage to the cooks – and a voice.More ...
Artistic intervention in Spišský Hrhov: 'love' © Petra Pospěchová

The Spiš Miracle

The action group CanalPark BXL is pulling out all the stops to convert a concrete jungle of a no-go area into a lively neighbourhood park: building a play area, raising funds, and planting trees.More ...
Photo (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0): 2014 Daniel Delang

Of Mayors and Gorillas

One city, two segments, neatly separated according to rich and poor. Gentrification, terminated leases, luxury renovations: Goldgrund Realty makes it possible!More ...
Slam Shell © Ruben Neugebauer / jib collective

Shock Therapy

Germany is haunted by a Poltergeist: A Berlin-based international group of activists hounds cliques and corporations that deemed themselves safe from grassroots protests.More ...

Rooftop Paradise

The demographic crisis is turning Gaza into a concrete jungle, green space is lacking. Rooftop agriculture is a small solution for a big problem.More ...

House of the Aged

Die junge Tunesierin Abir Rouis hat sich mit ihrem Verein Mazalet El Baraka große Ziele gesetzt: Sie möchte vernachlässigten älteren Menschen neue Hoffnung geben und Brücken zwischen den Generationen bauen, in einer der ärmsten Regionen im Hinterland von Tunesien.More ...
LAMM. Photo (CC): Adam Schwarz

The Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing

Since the squeaky wheel gets the grease, editors of the online magazine LAMM ask questions in the name of sustainable consumption. Corporations, watch out!More ...
zestawZESTAW tableware
© zestawZESTAW / Martyna Ochojska, Dominika Wysogląd and Joanna Jurga

Engaging Tableware

Three students demonstrate how to make your own edible tableware with their project zestawZESTAW.More ...
Praça da Nascente, São
Paulo
© Leonard Castro

Occupying and embracing public space

Active citizens in West São Paulo have revitalized a square to create a small oasis in the middle of the city.
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© Mary O'Brien

"Art That Walks in the World"

Two California artists are creating public sculptures that heal damaged ecosystems and eventually disappear back into nature.
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EMIS students with German upcycling designer Lisa Pranter © EMIS

School for Change

Students from hostile sides of the Middle East learn and live together at Israel's Eastern Mediterranean International School. Their first lesson in preparation for a complex and interconnected world: trying to understand each other.
More ...
Photo (CC BY-NC-SA): Ägidius Wellenzohn

The Miracle of Mals

By banning pesticides in a referendum, the community of Mals in Southern Tyrol is set to garner worldwide attention. That does not mean that the conflict is settled.More ...
© Verena Brüning

Carpenters Building Human Rights

At CUCULA, a “refugees’ company for crafts and design”, five young asylum seekers are building sustainable livelihoods for themselves by making and selling designer furniture.More ...
© Community Land Trust BXL

Visionary Housing, a Model for the Future

Community Land Trust BXL buys land in central Brussels to bould affordable residences. The houses are then sold, the land is not.
More ...
© Urgenda Foundation

An Urgent Warning

Since the climate doesn’t wait for politics to catch up, Marjan Minnesma is changing the world herself. With her Urgenda foundation, she presses ahead on the energy revolution.More ...
© Goethe-Institute Tunis

Happiness is in the field!

In the Tunisian village of Sidi Thabet, a therapeutic farm welcomes disabled children from disadvantaged families. The farm provides the opportunity of vocational training. Along the way, the children acquire the art of “horse whispering”.More ...

City eyesore turned park

The action group CanalPark BXL is pulling out all the stops to convert a concrete jungle of a no-go area into a lively neighbourhood park: building a play area, raising funds, and planting trees.More ...
Cowsat Les Amanins. Photo (CC BY-SA): Daniel Schürer

Cooperation in the Spirit of the Hummingbird

For a decade now, the agro-ecological centre Les Amanins has welcomed anyone interested in cooperation, education, autonomy and resource-friendly economic activity.More ...
Lecture at Cooperifa, São Paulo. Photo (CC): João Wainer

Literature in the periphery

The Cooperative for Culture of the Periphery (Cooperifa) has brought poetry to one of the most violent regions of São Paulo for 14 years.More ...
Volunteers fertilising the ground. Photo Copyright: Torekes De Site

The other side of the coin

In a deprived district of the small Belgian city of Ghent, the local Toreke coin reveals how big the transformative impact of alternative currency systems can be.More ...
Floating Vegetable Gardens, Espacio G. Projects with Open Codes, 2011-2012. Photo (CC): Espacio G

Self-management and activism in the post-industrial age

Espacio G stands for an artistic agenda beyond the merely academic, distributing knowledge freely and disrupting established structures.More ...
Students of a Normandy school that, thanks to EP, gains electricity from solar panels on the school roof. Photo (CC BY-SA): Energie Partagée

Choosing Tomorrow’s Energy—Together

By contributing to the citizens’ fund and association Énergie Partagée, everyone can become a champion of the energy revolution—for example, by supporting solar energy from Normandy.More ...
Straining kefir grains. Photo (CC BY-SA): by Lou Preston

Fermenting Change

The ancient culinary craft of fermentation is bubbling up once again. In a climate-constrained future, it could preserve both food and cultural diversity.More ...
Niels van Lingen, General Manager Thermiq. Photo (CC BY-NC-ND): ThermIQ

And Then a Light Went Off

Infrared panels provide focused and energy-efficient heating. Entrepreneur Niels van Lingen is burning to spread the technology.More ...
Henry Mentink. Photo: MyWheels

Less Ownership, More Use

Entrepreneur Henry Mentink wanted to boost the appeal of fair trade stores—and incidentally, he introduced car sharing to the Netherlands.More ...
Local products for sale to. Photo (CC BY-SA): Bálint Bajomi

A Weekend in the Countryside

Paraszt-Wellness in Gömörszőlős, Hungary, gives volunteers insights into sustainable farming and ecological lifestyles.More ...
(2) Local children conquer the drying rack of Bódvalenke. Photo (CC BY-SA): Márton Botond - Sziget Festival Official

Guardians of the Village

Bienen sind akut bedroht; in ländlichen Monokulturen finden sie kaum noch Nahrung. Großstadt-Imker des Netzwerks Berlin summt! verschaffen den Bienen eine Heimat in der Stadtnatur, etwa auf dem Berliner Dom.More ...
Arcadia’s Mobile Market setting up to sell produce at LeDroit Park in Washington, DC. Photo (CC BY-SA): Tegan Gregory

An Oasis In The Food Desert

Lücken in der Lebensmittelversorgung schließt in Washington D.C. der mobile Markt Arcadia. Fehlen zur Ernährungssicherheit nur ein paar Busse?More ...
Ben Kneppers (left) and Kevin Ahearn hold up a fishing net to demonstrate how much net is needed to create their skateboards. Photo (CC BY-SA): Kevin Ahearn

Net Gain

The US start-up Bureo fights ocean pollution and supports Chilean fishing communities by upcycling discarded fishing nets into skateboards.More ...

The Food System We Want to See

Eat Local Challenge. Photo (CC): BAMCO

The Food System We Want to See

The food service company Bamco is transforming America’s food system—one sustainable purchase at a time.

In the processing department of a fish supplier in Alaska, a buyer noticed chunks of salmon left on the skin after workers boned and filleted the fish for market. “What are you planning to do with these?” she asked the fish processor, who told her the remnants would be crushed and thrown into Prince William Sound. Seeing opportunity where others saw waste, she offered to buy the small pieces, called trim, if the supplier shipped them to San Francisco. This particular buyer happened to be the director of purchasing strategy for Bon Appétit Management Company, BAMCO – and so, once in San Francisco, the trim was delivered to chefs employed by the California-based food-service company. The chefs were then challenged to do something innovative with it and created salmon burgers, salmon pad thai, salmon tacos, and a wide variety of other meals.

The 26-year-old company, which serves 150 million meals per year to corporate employees, university students, and museum goers in 32 states, has a long history of leadership in sustainable practices. Eliminating food waste like trim is just one example. Each of its 500 locations is under the direction of a chef who is required to buy at least 20 percent of produce from suppliers within 150 miles, a mandate that began back in 1999 when Maisie Ganzer, vice president of strategy, established BAMCO’s Farm to Fork program. Another program, the company’s Low Carbon Diet, asks chefs to cut use of beef companywide by 33 percent, cut the use of cheese by 10 percent, and eliminate air-freighted produce. And BAMCO was among the first food service companies to address the issues of antibiotic overuse, sustainable seafood, humanely raised meat and eggs, and farmworker welfare.

Using every single part of the business

By empowering chefs to independently support sustainability, BAMCO is attempting to create the kind of food system it wants to see in America, rather than proceed with the industrial food system’s status quo. “How can we use every single part of our business to create that food system?” asks Ganzer.

The food service industry as a whole is increasingly moving toward sustainability. Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, a restaurant franchise and food product company, offers organic selections, serves vegetarian meals, and buys only sustainable seafood, cage-free eggs, crate-free veal, and pork raised without gestation crates. Similarly, among other initiatives, the fast-food restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill buys 100 percent of its pork from suppliers that do not use gestation crates or antibiotics. Meanwhile, the large supermarket chain Whole Foods buys local produce, procures large quantities of meat from producers that treat animals humanely, and has collaborated with the Marine Stewardship Council, the Blue Ocean Institute, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium to make its seafood selection as sustainable as possible. Even Burger King has gotten on the bandwagon, offering veggie burgers and promoting meatless Monday.

But BAMCO’s long history has made it a leader in such efforts. “There is no food service company that is close to Bon Appétit’s leadership on animal welfare issues,” says Josh Balk, director of food policy for the Humane Society’s farm animal protection campaign. “Specifically, their commitments of switching 100 percent of their eggs to cage free, eliminating gestation crates in their supply chain and sourcing … animal products from farms that pass third-party certification programs from credible animal-welfare organizations.” By 2015, at least 25 percent of the company’s meat and eggs will be from sources whose humane practices have been verified by four such organizations.

“We put a stake in the ground, and we want to make it a reality of what we promised,” says Ganzer, adding that the company still has a lot of work to do to meet its 2015 goal of procuring pork raised without gestation crates. “The problem is, we don’t have enough suppliers lined up,” she says. “We are making promises faster than producers are making changes — and we are even willing to write the bigger check!”

Exerting even more pressure than their size commands

While most of the company’s efforts have been in support of local producers, BAMCO’s focus is also international. When company chefs requested tilapia, it enlisted the help of Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch to find the only tilapia producer in China producing the fish sustainably (less than 5 percent of tilapia is produced in the United States). Despite its red list of all tilapia from China at that time, the Seafood Watch program gave BAMCO the green light as a commercial buyer. Why? “Because it would send a signal to everyone else in China that if you change your practices, you can get more sales,” says Ganzer. “So we buy from one particular producer in China as a way to create a carrot incentive for the other producers to change their practices to be more environmentally preferable.” As a whole, China’s tilapia production has improved since BAMCO first started buying from its sustainable producer. Now tilapia from China is no longer red-listed but is labeled a “good alternative” by Seafood Watch.

Large-scale factory farms are the company’s next target. “We’ve always supported small, local growers, but how can we change the big growers?” asks Ganzer. “They’ve gotten away with a lot by being nameless and faceless to most consumers.”

Though it is not the biggest food-service company, BAMCO looks to punch above its weight, so to speak, and create change. “We are always pushing and striving to think of ways to leverage our brand and purchases to exert more pressure than our size commands, in order to make changes in the supply chain,” Ganzer says. Still, she understands that success in any area of food will only come if the product is something consumers will want to eat. “Don’t think we are so focused on sustainability that we forget that,” she says.

    Ammon Thomas getting the seeds on the way to germination. Photo (CC BY-SA): Sarah Jacobson

    A step towards transformation

    In Reading, the United States’ second poorest city, the residents’ group Permacultivate is practicing and preaching local food production.More ...
    Baking bread. Photo (CC BY-SA): La conquête du pain

    The Anarchists’ Bread

    The bakers of La conquête du pain keep their quarter in Montreuil happy with delicious baguettes... while practicing anarchism.More ...
    La Collecterie. Photo (CC BY-SA): Florence Vallot

    New Lives for Old Objects

    In Montreuil, the Collecterie resource center is fighting waste by recycling trash—and generating jobs.More ...
    A Romani plucks out the weed in between the planted seeds of the greenhouse. Photo (CC BY-SA): Ecodrom

    On the way to taking root

    Ecodrom93 enables Roma families in the suburbs of Paris to grow their own vegetables and make a home for themselves in the community.More ...
    Jardin Cocagne. Photo (CC BY-SA): PHOTO CLUB de St Hilarion

    Much more than vegetables

    In the Jardins de Cocagne gardens the jobless and homeless find self-confidence and support in creating a future.More ...

    Veggies from the public park


    Veggies from the public park

    The town of Andernach is planting quinces by the car park and transforming dark corners into potato patches. The locals are in awe – and harvesting.

    All that is needed to create a green public space is a bench, a patch of grass and a sign prohibiting some activity or another. Often even a rubbish bin will do, positioned alongside evergreen shrubs such as barberry or ivy. “Cemetery plants”, says Lutz Kosack, a geoecologist employed by the town of Andernach to maintain its parks and public spaces. “Doesn’t look particularly great, is ecologically pointless, but needs tending all the same.”

    So how come these uniformly bland green plants are to be found in just about every German town? And why is it that the idea of growing radishes in a bed of pansies is scorned, despite the fact that harvesting them on our doorsteps would render their long-distance transport superfluous? We appear to have forgotten the post-war years when every little patch of green was used to cultivate fruit and vegetables. When Lutz Kosack and four or five of his colleagues at Andernach town hall decided in the spring of 2010 to (once again) make their town edible, local residents thought it an April Fool’s joke. The idea was that everyone in this town should be allowed to pick and harvest anything that the local authority decided to plant, from potatoes to cornflowers – to wit for free!

    Objections, and notions of what is normal

    Bewildered head-shaking was followed by countless objections: veggie patches in the park? Too easily destroyed. Wild flowers on a traffic island? Too untidy. Tomato plants growing along the city wall? Too expensive. A paltry 100 plants costing one euro fifty each sparked a discussion in Andernach about potential vandalism in public parks, describes Kosack. At the same time, the town was spending 500 euros on having a park bench on the banks of the Rhine dismantled and put together again: “This didn’t even warrant a three-line report in the local newspaper, as it is considered to be utterly normal.”

    In fact, having wild flowers growing along the side of the street costs the town less than the usual beds of tulips, because shrubs and grasses do not need watering if the soil is covered in mulch. More importantly, however, they return every year and do not have to be replanted over and over again, as conventional flower beds do. “Such alternating beds have nothing to do with sustainability”, believes Lutz Kosack. “The tulips are planted in the spring until they are chucked on the compost heap; then come the sunflowers which in turn are pulled out at the end of the summer to make way for the pansies.” While 60 euros per year have to be reckoned for one square metre of beds in which the flowers are routinely replaced, the same area of shrubbery costs the town just ten euros.

    The remit of local authorities, and reverence

    Vegetable patches require considerably more attention. To maintain and water them, the town has recruited six long-term unemployed locals who receive a small wage funded out of federal government subsidies. Not a particularly sustainable solution, as Lutz Kosack admits, yet the town is unable or unwilling to afford its own gardener. “Runner beans are simply not considered to be within the remit of the local authorities”, explains the landscape maintenance expert. “Not yet.”

    Unperturbed by all this, Kosack and his colleagues decided to go even further: for their publicly accessible potato patches and bee meadows, they purposefully chose to use those areas of the town most soiled with rubbish – the dark corners commonly sullied by dogs and humans alike. Like the flood ditch for instance, which used to sparkle green from all the broken beer bottles. Now, rhubarb, pumpkins and nasturtiums grow here. What is more, garbage workers no longer need to sweep up the broken glass; fears that the vegetable patches would be vandalized proved unfounded. On the contrary, the people of Andernach treat their bean plants and almond trees with care, indeed almost with reverence. People walking their dogs along the city wall will find themselves reminded from time to time that other people plan to eat the things that are growing there. “Put decent plants on people’s doorsteps and they will treat them with decency”, Lutz Kosack sums up his experience.

    Everyone is allowed, wherever possible

    In the first couple of years, many locals did not really dare to help themselves from the public vegetable patches. “At first it felt like stealing”, explains Heike Mützel as she wanders among the bean plants with a knife. “After all, my needs are not as acute as those who use food banks. But everyone is allowed to harvest here.” What is more, word has spread. Potato plants are now covered with netting to prevent them from being harvested too early. “Many people would simply pull up the potatoes to see whether they were ready yet.” Next season, Kosack and his colleagues plan to introduce a traffic light system by way of guidance, though they still intend to make do without signs telling people what to do.

    People are even allowed to pick the wild flowers in bloom. The older residents of this town of 30,000 inhabitants are delighted to have the chance to cut bunches of wild corn flowers, poppies, ragged robin and marigolds. Many of them used to have their own gardens but found themselves no longer able to maintain them. Now they enquire at the local council whether they might be allowed to do a bit of gardening from time to time. Indeed, Lutz Kosack’s office in the town hall has been getting a lot of visitors recently: some bring cabbage seeds from their own gardens, while others ask whether they can plant things on their doorsteps. The town provides the seeds for the planting, while the local residents take care of the plants. Culinary herbs are grown in front of restaurants in the pedestrian area, and wild grapevines are even winding their way up the town hall’s walls.

    International resonance, and a region’s cultural assets

    The great public resonance confirms that the champions of the edible city are on to something: more than 300 cities and communities in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria have inquired for more information about Andernach’s officially endorsed food theft. Even in South Africa and Australia, some are considering to adopt the concept. The German towns of Minden, Kassel and Waldkirch as well as Austrian Kirchberg am Wagram have already done so. Meanwhile, Andernach is once again a step ahead: as of 2013, chicken inhabit the space around the city wall. While it is not allowed to harvest their eggs just passing by, they can be bought in a Fair-Regio-Store. This year, the chicken will be joined by some sheep. Their diet will consist of wild flowers, locally grown.

    “When people hear about species becoming extinct, they think of the great white shark”, Lutz Kosack points out. “Yet the problem affects our native crop plants just as much.” This is why the geoecologist seeks to cultivate traditional, regional varieties in the town’s parks and green spaces and encourages local residents to take seeds with them for their own gardens. Examples include the Andernach apple variety Namedia Gold, the Baron von Solemacher strawberry and the Rhineland-Palatinate almond: these are the sort of cultural assets that define a region and make it unique – and the best way to preserve them is to use them every day. That is, to eat them. When enjoying a picnic in the park, the local almond variety does not even require a nutcracker, as it can be opened by hand. In other words, it is the perfect variety for an edible town.

      Josef Zotter, founder and director of the Zotter Schokoladen Manufaktur. | © Zotter Schokoladen

      A Sweet Chocolate Dream

      Josef Zotter’s organic, fair-trade chocolate creations are extraordinary—and spite market demands. Astoundingly, that is the key to the Austrian’s great success.More ...
      The WIR Bank headquarters in Basel. Photo © WIR Bank Genossenschaft

      Big Money for Small Businesses

      A short history of money—and the story of how Swiss WIR Bank is protecting small and mid-sized companies from the pressure of continuous growth.More ...
      Christopher Lewis, founder and director of Samstag Rad. Photo (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 DE): Michael Schrenk/FUTURZWEI

      Thank God It’s Saturday!

      Each bicycle is a piece of art: Christopher Lewis finds long-discarded classics and creates elegant signature bikes. On toward a second life, let’s go chase some fast cars!More ...
      DORV Centre Barmen. Photo (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 DE): DORV UG

      The STOR(e)-Keeper

      Teacher Heinz Frey halted the demise of "mom-and-pop stores" by creating new village centres—first in his home village, then in other communities and urban districts.More ...
      Christoph Fischer, initiator of the Arbeitsgruppe Zivil Courage. Photo (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 DE): Michael Schrenk/FUTURZWEI

      (B)Old Farmer

      Josef Sichler has switched his farm to organic. And become an activist: He convinced his dairy distributor to accept milk only from farmers who rear their livestock GMO-free.More ...
      Uwe Marth, volunteer beekeeper for Berlin summt!, and Lars-Gunnar Ziel, general manager of the Berlin Cathedral. Photo (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 DE): Michael Schrenk/FUTURZWEI

      Swooning over Swarms

      Bees are in acute danger; in rural monocultures, they hardly find sustenance. Amateur beekeepers from the network Berlin summt! provide urban habitats for bees.More ...
      Repair work at the RUSZ. Photo (CC BY-ND 3.0 DE): Schiffer/R.U.S.Z.

      Refurbishment of repair services

      At the Repair and Service Center in Vienna, the long-term unemployed retrain to be "mechatronic engineers" and repair electronic devices. Founder Sepp Eisenriegler tirelessly initiates networks, projects, and cafés—all dedicated to the art of fixing things.More ...
      Sina Trinkwalder, founder and director of manomama. Photo (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 DE): Michael Schrenk/FUTURZWEI

      The Return of the Textile Industry

      Sina Trinkwalder did what all experts declared impossible: she built a textile factory in Germany and is paying decent wages.More ...