PINECUBE: technologies for sustainable plant production and urban renewal in Belluno (Italy)

N. Colucci, N. Dall'Agnol, P. De Biasi, F. Orsini, N. Tagliaferri, E. Tonet
Under the international challenge UrbanFarm2019, a requalification program was designed for the former elementary school of Orzes (Belluno Province, Italy). Since the post-WW2 period and until the 1980s, this historical building guaranteed an education to the children that used to live in the surrounding agricultural neighbourhoods. Orzes village is surrounded by the rural areas of Belluno Province, which lays at the bottom of the Dolomites mountains, a landscape featuring elevated biodiversity. In 1987, Orzes school was declared unfit for use, and regional authorities slowly but inexorably lost interest in it. To design its requalification, the planimetry of the building was considered first; then it was re-adapted for hydroponic indoor cultivation system (NFT) targeting the production of aromatic and officinal herbs. A market survey in Belluno province was conducted, aiming at evaluating the current sales channels and the market demand for plants, highlighting the request for local production of aromatic species. A literature survey and the creation of a business model canvas allowed to compile a SWOT analysis that supported the definition of optimal features for sustainable food production and the requalification of the abandoned building. The research also confirmed that in addition to the production of raw materials (to be sold as fresh or after being proceeded on-site), other complementary activities (including services for social inclusion) would be suitable to integrate the core activity of production. Among identified strengths, a strong cohesion within the territory and the active involvement of local (and non-local) actors allowed for generating new job opportunities, including consultancy services specialized for agricultural businesses and possible partnerships with research institutions and universities.
Colucci, N., Dall'Agnol, N., De Biasi, P., Orsini, F., Tagliaferri, N. and Tonet, E. (2020). PINECUBE: technologies for sustainable plant production and urban renewal in Belluno (Italy). Acta Hortic. 1298, 135-144
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1298.20
international student challenge, soilless cultivation, nutrient film technique, teamwork, urban regeneration, circular economy, aromatics, nickel free

Acta Horticulturae