Red coral effectively recovers in Mediterranean protected areas after decades of overexploitation

Protection measures of the Marine Protected Areas have enable red coral colonies (Corallium rubrum) to recover partially in the Mediterranean Sea, reaching health levels similar to those of the 1980s in Catalonia and of the 1960s in the Ligurian Sea (Northwestern Italy).

Sub-national “climate clubs” could offer key to combating climate change

‘Climate clubs’ offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally-harmonised climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.

Victoria Reyes-García receives an ERC Proof of Concept grant linked to the LICCI project

Victoria Reyes-García ICREA Research Professor at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) is one of the 76 top researchers that will receive ERC Proof of Concept grants.

ICTA-UAB demands the UAB to reduce number of flights

Given our current climate emergency, recently acknowledged by the UAB, the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has drawn up a proposal urging the University to put into action a new travel policy to tackle one of its most polluting activities: Flying.

New assessment finds EU electricity decarbonization discourse in need of overhaul

It’s well known that the EU is focusing its efforts on decarbonizing its economy.

ICTA-UAB to organize the International Conference 2020 on Low-Carbon Lifestyle Changes

ICTA-UAB will host the International Conference 2020 on Low-Carbon Lifestyle Changes with the aim of exploring the role of changing lifestyles in climate change mitigation.

Iron availability in seawater, key to explaining the amount and distribution of fish in the oceans

People tend to pay more attention to how much food they are eating, than with how rich their diet is in essential micronutrients like iron.

Mining waste dumped into Portmán Bay continues to release metals into the sea 25 years later

The waters of the Mediterranean Sea continue to receive dissolved metals from the mining waste deposited in Portmán Bay (Murcia) 25 years after the cessation of mining activity.

A new ICTA-UAB project to assess the impacts of micro- and nano-plastics in the tropical and temperate oceans

A new project led by ICTA-UAB researcher Patrizia Ziveri is one of five projects selected for funding by the Joint Programming Initiative Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans (JPI Oceans).

Big data reveals extraordinary unity underlying life’s diversity

Limits to growth lie at the heart of how all living things function, according to a new study carried out by ICTA-UAB researchers  .

Jeroen van den Bergh, awarded an honorary doctorate by the Open University of the Netherlands

The environmental economist at ICTA-UAB Prof. Dr Jeroen van den Bergh was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Open University of the Netherlands.

High lead concentrations found in Amazonian wildlife

Researchers from ICTA-UAB and the UVic-UCC detect high levels of lead concentration in wildlife samples from the Peruvian Amazon caused by lead-based ammunition and oil-related pollution in extraction areas.

Study gauges trees’ potential to slow global warming in the future

The Pyrenean forests, the Cantabrian coast and Galicia show an important potential to accumulate even larger amounts of carbon dioxide in the future and thus help to slow down the increase in CO2 concentrations which are warming the planet.

Why do environmentalists eat meat?

A study by researchers at the ICTA-UAB analyses the reasons why environmentally-minded scientists find it difficult to give up meat consumption, one of the world's greatest environmental problems.

La gestión del verde urbano permite incrementar la presencia de pájaros en las ciudades

Incrementar la biodiversidad del verde urbano permitiría aumentar la presencia de aves paseriformes en las ciudades mediterráneas, según un estudio científico realizado por investigadores del Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología Ambientales de la Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) que analiza qué estrategias hay que implementar sobre la vegetación urbana para conseguir "naturalizar" las ciudades favoreciendo la entrada de flora y fauna.

The Ebro River annually dumps 2.2 billion microplastics into the sea

An ICTA-UAB study analyses the distribution and accumulation of microplastics from one of the main rivers of the western Mediterranean.
News
Urban Agriculture on Rooftops Provides Healthy, Fresh and Sustainable Food

Date: 2019-03-29

​The implementation of urban gardens on building rooftops could produce fresh, healthy and sustainable agricultural food and guarantee the food sovereignty of cities, which are becoming increasingly populated. This is clear from the research on urban agriculture developed by the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB), within the framework of the FertileCity project, the results of which were presented in front of a hundred people attending from public and private institutions and associations.

It is estimated that by 2050, 66% of the world population will reside in urban centers and the demand for food will increase by 30%. In this context, urban agriculture is proliferating not only as a sustainable system of local production and consumption of food, but as a tool to improve air quality and temperature, reduce the environmental impact of freight transport, support local economies and provide social services in areas such as education, health, social inclusion or leisure.

The FertileCity project, which also involves researchers from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), has analysed the implementation of urban agriculture on building rooftops with the aim of taking advantage of these empty spaces by installing greenhouses. Among the limiting factors for the urban agriculture development, the fear that air pollution in cities might affect the healthiness of cultivated agricultural foods stands out. The results show that the vegetables produced both in the ICTA-UAB greenhouse (located on the UAB campus next to the AP-7) and in other gardens located in high traffic density areas in Barcelona are not contaminated by heavy metals, and that the levels of nickel, arsenic, cadmium and lead are well below the limits allowed by food legislation. The study analysed the soilless production of vegetables, using perlite as a substrate and providing the plant with the necessary nutrients together with irrigation water from rain. Thus, the contamination of heavy metals through the substrate, a usual source, was ruled out as well.




The study determines that only one square meter of crop is needed to produce up to 17 kilograms of tomatoes, an amount higher than the average annual consumption of tomatoes per person, estimated at 16.1 kg. In addition, in order to collect enough rainwater to maintain the crop, an additional square meter is needed. According to the researchers of the project, the weather conditions inside the greenhouse provide the right environment to produce tomatoes in summer in an extended cycle (planting at the beginning of January). Fruit crops, such as tomatoes, have a lower environmental impact and better economic results than leaf crops (such as lettuce) because productivities are higher. "During the winter we take advantage of the greenhouse to produce other foods that are less demanding than the tomato," explains Dr. Xavier Gabarrell, project researcher and director of ICTA-UAB, who says that the "FertileCity project demonstrates that green beans, chard, spinach, rocket and lettuce are viable in winter thanks to the thermal inertia of the building and the greenhouse that provides a suitable temperature for these crops".

Consumers have a positive perception of the foods produced by urban agriculture on rooftop greenhouses, for both their quality and production system. Consumers consider them fresh (93%), tasty (80.5%) and having a lower environmental impact (68.5%). The assessment is even more positive among respondents who had prior knowledge of urban agriculture projects on rooftop greenhouses than among those who were not aware of this production model. For Gabarrell, "the results of the surveys indicate that 81.5% would like to buy these products if they had the option to do so" and points out that "urban agriculture on building rooftops has great potential to increase the current production and local consumption of food with a lower environmental impact and economic cost than conventional products imported from other regions".

The presentation of results included a visit to the urban agriculture laboratories located in the ICTA-UAB’s rooftop greenhouse, as well as a tasting of agricultural products collected the previous day such as green beans cooked with soybeans, chard quiches and salads, among other dishes.

 

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