The Living lab of Tampere was officially launched for the wider public on Saturday 17th of September at 11-16 in the Life from Soil (Elämää maasta) event held in the surroundings of Ahlman´s urban school farm.
The main spirit of the event was the celebration of local food and sustainable living with many family-friendly events, guided tours of the 10 hectare AhlmanEdu estate, many exhibitions, workshops and shows. Around 25 local food producers and other small-scale producers from the area were on-site selling their products.
FUSILLI project had its own space where other Living Lab partners, Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK), Tampere City and Ecofellows were also introducing their activities around sustainable urban food system.
At the heart of the Living Lab launch event was Ahlman’s urban garden where we are experimenting with gardening and farming solutions based on the Soil Food Web method of soil management. Practice of raised bed gardening system was introduced to our fellow citizens with a short tour around the garden.
Getting to know the look, smell, and feel of AhlmanEdu's bioactive compost.
AhlmanEdu´s high-quality soil improver, the bioactive compost that is microbiologically enriching the garden soil as a core of the sustainable food production, was also presented at the launch. Many home gardeners were interested to learn about the living soil, and how to support the plants and soil health by making and using bioactive compost. A few short presentations were given on the subject. Visitors had the opportunity of getting to know the compost not only by touching and smelling it, but also exploring it under the microscope thus learning about the soil as a living system that supports all life on the planet.
Exploring the soil samples under the microscope to see that it is really 'living'.
The City of Tampere participated in the event to greet the visitors in our FUSILLI space throughout the whole day. Citizens’ views, practices, wishes and ideas about food system in their home city was gathered via a detailed questionnaire that we launched at the event. Important themes raised in the conversations were the possibilities of urban farming, affordable food for all plus better school,hospital, and retirement home meals and the importance of sustainability of vegetable-based diets. We will continue gathering views through the questionnaire throughout this year and the data gathered will be used in the development of the Food Policy Action plan.
Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) challenged and encouraged event visitors to share their ideas and opinions about sustainable food choices. Visitors could write their ideas down on a post-it stickers that were later collected on a whiteboard. The concept and operations of TAMK Catering Studio – Living Lab of Food and Sustainability were also presented by a video teaser during the event.
Ideas on sustainable food choices collected from visitors
On this day, Ecofellows aimed to introduce people to the idea of “Local and seasonal food from the city”. To give people a real taste experience and to have a nice chat with them about the topic, we had a jam-tasting stand. We were happy to have 145 people of all ages on the stand to taste our homemade chokeberry & apple jam, and to hear about many health benefits of using the chokeberry that grows abundantly in our urban area. We shared our jam recipe to encourage people to pick the berries and make their own jam.
Local chokeberry and apple jam for tasting.
We found that promoting urban agriculture while providing the jam tasting was a very fruitful combination to give people a new perspective to think about the sustainable and local food!
This was the first larger event organized for citizens at AhlmanEdu since 2019, and the number of people that visited despite the rainy day was a pleasant surprise and proof that AhlmanEdu and its school farm have a big role in our local community. We had an amazing number of ~2000 people attending the event, and through the visitors’ engagement we could see that the inhabitants of Tampere are well-informed, interested and engaging individuals who are well aware of the problems of today´s food systems.