"The main purpose of science is to cross knowledge," says Dean of Humboldt University
Thaís do Vale
The deans of USP, Marco Antonio Zago, and Humboldt University of Berlin, Jan-Hendrik Olbertz, and teachers from both universities, participated in a meeting on April 8, the Congregation of the Office of the FEA, to discuss challenges sustainability in megacities. Conferences of the USP program, the event is the result of research forum and discussion, created between the two universities, the KOSMOS Workshop. The goal of the partnership is to integrate "green technologies", aimed at the preservation and creation of sustainable infrastructure in urban areas, uniting the work of teachers and students. The main topics discussed were sustainable food production and urban agriculture.
Jan-Hendrik Olbertz, rector of the Humboldt University, stressed the need to discuss the problems of management and planning of large cities, in addition to "a successful cooperation between research and teaching." He said that interdisciplinarity is essential to promote sustainability and globalization: "The main purpose of science is to cross knowledge". As for the future, he believes that "the problems can only be solved with the internationalization," pointing out the importance of student mobility to exchange ideas, as well as interaction between students and experienced researchers.
The rector Marco Antonio Zago highlighted the importance of partnership between the two universities: "Over 300 articles have been published jointly by the Humboldt and USP." It also said that it is not only of academic knowledge production, but projects that collaborate with the government. That's because the various initiatives to studies on metropolises have their origin in economic and social areas, covering topics such as inequality and human rights.
Urban agriculture already accounts for 15% of food production
The German delegation, the teacher Heidi Hoffmann, a member of the Faculty of Agriculture and Horticulture, which deals with organic farming and urban agriculture, said that "urbanization challenges the power and holds sustainability as there are more people in cities than in rural areas and everyone needs to eat. "
His research is important to the Brazilian reality, which has two mega-cities (São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro). She recalled the need to create new services and opportunities in these locations, highlighting problems with the water supply, traffic and pollution of rivers.
The German delegation visited community gardens in São Paulo. The researcher highlighted the engagement of young people in the process and stressed the importance of community support agriculture. "Urban agriculture is not about green areas, but food production".
But the benefits are not just social. Hoffmann said that food production in urban areas "saves money, reduces health care costs and social welfare, as well as take advantage of abandoned areas." He suggested that many foods are produced in confined spaces (such as green vegetables, eggs and fish), promoting diversity and food security. She acknowledged that "the idea of urban agriculture is more common in developed countries," but admitted that it also occurs in poor areas, especially for personal use: "The main responsibility for production in these regions are the women because they use agriculture to feed the children". This system, according to the researcher, is not an exception or a peculiarity of certain areas, but an important economic process, and currently accounts for 15-20% of world production of vegetables, besides supplying 20-60% of household need food.
For its implementation and dissemination, the main elements are the soil and weather conditions. Although it seems simple, these two elements are very altered in major cities. As mentioned, the soils are impermeable by buildings in cities, which does not contribute to water storage, damaging growing plants. Furthermore, the density of buildings, lack of green areas and water channels and winds interfere with the weather. So they were developed other methods of cultivation, such as hydroponic gardens (which use water as a nutrient supplier) and plantations in sawdust.
Enhancing the researcher's arguments, Professor Decio Zylbersztajn, FEA, also defended the importance of urban agriculture. He said the current food production is meeting human needs, but large-scale specialization of production demand efficient workers and expertise - which increases the process. Added to this the fact that in Brazil 80% of the arable land is unused. Thus we believe that this productively is an option not only from the economic point of view, but also to promote leisure activities for green areas, which is an important educational perspective on the environment. Professor Cecilia Loschiavo, FAU, emphasized the social benefits of the initiative, stressing the need to create new knowledge to solve the problem. He said that sustainability is to recognize the needs of future generations, and so it is important the interaction between generations and innovative education.