The University of Bologna Alma Mater Studiorum, founded in 1088, is considered the oldest university in Western Europe. It is one of the most important institutions of higher education across Europe with more than 90,000 enrolled students, 33 Departments, approx. 2,900 academics.
The Agricultural and Food Sciences Dept. (DISTAL) provides leadership in research, teaching and extension in the subjects of horticulture, crop production, sustainable agricultural systems and environment and applied plant ecology. Its mission is to develop and deliver educational and research programmes enabling students to become highly skilled and creative graduates and fostering the adoption of profitable, environmentally sound and socially responsive agricultural systems.
DISTAL has a world leading experience in the area of urban farming in Europe and in developing countries especially in the development of sustainable small scale horticultural cropping systems.
DISTAL is also committed in school and adults education and is involved in several activities related to horticulture and urban farming, including projects with primary schools pupils and teachers, people with disabilities and elders, immigrants and unemployed.
The Research Centre in Urban Environment for Agriculture and Biodiversity (ResCUE-AB) was created at DISTAL in 2013 to turn the city into a widespread ecological-laboratory that connects the different experiences of agriculture and urban ecology for a better urban environment. The ResCUE-AB main activities include:
- Promotion of Urban Agriculture (UA) studies and researches on socially sustainable ecosystems including soilless crops, agro-ecology and biodiversity in urban environment;
- Organization of training opportunities, conferences, seminars and meetings addressing the scientific community and the civil society;
- Coordination of innovative and viable UA grassroots initiatives involving multiple stakeholders (governmental/non governmental actors, civil society and SMEs);
- Support to the definition and implementation of policies and programmes at local/regional/national/international level.