Module 3: Participation by Citizen Science

Citizen Science for sustainable land use and regional value creation

© Himbeerspecht | Liane Hoder
© Himbeerspecht | Liane Hoder

OLGA promotes the application of participatory elements in the discussion and design of sustainable land use alternatives on water bodies and agricultural land and in decision-making in local and regional planning processes. The testing and evaluation of Citizen Science projects for the participation of the public in processes and decisions for sustainable land use and regionally sustainable food in the Dresden region are the focus of field of Module 3.

How can citizens participate in local and regional planning processes?

How can citizens be motivated and qualified to participate?

For this purpose, suitable qualification offers are designed, Citizen Science processes are investigated and evaluated, especially with regard to the attitude and motivation of citizens to participate.

The following activities are being carried out in module 3:

  • Structuring Citizen Science projects - status quo, analysing the preconditions for the participation of citizens
  • Study on the motivation of citizens to participate in Citizen Science projects
  • Implementation of Citizen Science projects, e.g. on the topic of regional nutrition etc.
  • Development and use of 3D-tools for participation
  • Evaluation of the participation process

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Citizen Science survey in Dresden and region: How regional is your shopping?

© Daniel Heine

When shopping, many people make sure that the eggs are from the region, the vegetables at least come from Germany, or wait in spring until the strawberries are no longer from Spain but from the surrounding area. But what about the bread from your favourite baker? He may bake locally, but where do all the ingredients of his bread actually come from? Or at lunch with the colleagues: Are the vegetables on the plate from the freezer or fresh from the local producer? At the butcher's it is often even more complicated. There is a sign saying 'regional': does that mean that the slaughtering was done in the region, that the animals were raised and born there, or that the feed was produced regionally? According to the consumer and market study "Wie regional is(s)t Sachsen?" (How regional is/eats Saxony?), regionality is an important criterion for many producers when shopping, but identifying regional products is often not that easy. The OLGA project therefore invites citizens to ask about the origin of foodstuffs when shopping in butcher's shops and bakeries and when visiting restaurants, and to record these answers in a digital questionnaire. The aims of the survey are

  • to answer the question: How high is the share of regional food/products in restaurants, bakeries and butcher's shops in Dresden and the region?  
  • to encourage the participating citizens to pay attention to regional origin when visiting a restaurant, butcher's shop or bakery.

The aim is to increase the focus on regionality in (retail) trade. The campaign is part of the Citizen Science movement, in which citizens actively participate in research processes. 

The results of the survey "How regional is your shopping?" will be published here after the evaluation.

Focus groups kick off online: Perspectives for sustainable land use and regional value creation in the Dresden region

After the Corona situation in Dresden and the region has intensified in November, we decided to postpone the OLGA focus groups until spring 2022 (see EVENTS). Nevertheless, we used the already communicated dates at the end of November and beginning of December 2021 for online exchanges in order to introduce the participating regional actors to each other for the first time and to sketch out initial moods and opinions with regard to the four focus group topics and take up the results for the face-to-face events. Below is a brief summary of the results of the online exchanges:

22.11.2021: Online exchange "Promoting biodiversity through the cultivation of agricultural wood - unrealistic or feasible?"

Knowledge about the establishment and management of agrowood structures in general needs to be communicated more strongly in the Dresden region. Farmers often do not know how to start. The transparent communication of the total costs as well as the ecological advantages of agroforestry use for soil and biodiversity is an important task here. In the end, it must be clear to land owners and users that it is worthwhile to cultivate biodiversity-promoting and multifunctional agroforestry systems which can provide versatile value-added options: from woodchips to the fruits of trees to feedstock for charcoal. This form of land use can also promote certain ecosystem services, but must be designed differently in relation to the respective agricultural system. The funding framework conditions for the realisation of agroforestry systems still need to be created in Saxony. What these can look like in concrete terms will also be the subject of the next focus group event on 25th of April 2022.

25.11.2021: Online exchange "Sustainable land use along watercourses through agroforestry structures"

Analogous to the biodiversity focus group, it was also called for the benefits of agroforestry structures along watercourses to be communicated more strongly. Together with the lower water authorities, the legal hurdles but also possibilities for integrating agroforestry systems into watercourse maintenance measures should be discussed. Farmers who currently still have reservations about planting wood on their land should definitely participate in the focus group. It is important to jointly sketch out a concrete plant design for both the agricultural area and the watercourse edge at the meeting on 28th of April 2022.

30.11.2021: Online exchange "Regionally produced legumes for the local food industry"

The aim is to grow and process more legumes, such as lupins, peas, beans, for human nutrition in the Dresden region together with the Legume Network Saxony. Whether in baked goods, in spreads or simply as a mini snack or lunch dish: pulses are more popular than ever due to their good climate balance, their gluten-free nature and as a vegan protein-rich alternative. Here, too, it is important to convince farmers that cultivation is worthwhile and that the infrastructure for processing is available regionally. Establishing stable value chains and developing new products with pulses are the current challenges here. Young people in particular are thinking more about a healthy, energy-rich diet - products with pulses are very much on the rise. At the presence event on 3rd of May 2022, the important players along the value chain will be represented to discuss new forms of cultivation and value creation options with pulses in the Dresden region. 

02.12.2021: Online exchange "Vegetable Pool 3.0 - Securing land for nutritional purposes through regional cooperation?"  

How can we secure more land for regional nutrition? Regional planning cannot dictate what exactly the farmer should grow, whether he should cultivate it organically or not or sell it regionally. There are many young farmers who are looking for land to do organic farming. How do they get hold of affordable land? There is a lot of scrambling for land. Most of it is farmed by large agricultural cooperatives. One possibility would be for large companies to give land to young farmers so that farming can be carried out side by side - organically and conventionally. This strategy would also promote diversity in cultivation and varieties. At the focus group event on 5th o May 2022, the participants will jointly consider how they would cultivate a 10 ha field in the immediate vicinity of the event location.

If you are interested in participating in one of the four focus group topics, you are welcome to send us an email to projekt-olga@tu-dresden.de.

The variety of topics covered by the project OLGA and its focus groups reflects only some of the many demands on the land. Together with experts and residents, we want to find out at the four events in spring 2022 which farming methods and value creation options are good for the Dresden region. | Photos from left to right: Biomasse Schraden e. V., Anke Hahn, Mayer, Solawi Bamberg.