Identification of creative solutions for food security that heal, mobilize, develop and unite communities

Posted May 20, 2022

Why?

The war endangered food security in Ukraine. Only 20 percent of cultivable lands were sowed this year due to hostilities. The war forced 12 million Ukrainians to leave their homes, many more losing their jobs and businesses. The World Bank forecasts 45% of GDP decline, which means inevitable economic crisis.

In the event of a continuing, protracted war in Ukraine, 18 years of socio-economic achievements could be lost, with almost one-third of the population living below the poverty line and a further 62 percent at high risk of falling into poverty within the next 12 months, according to UNDP projections.

UNDP and other UN agencies are currently implementing urgent solutions to improve food security.  UNDP’s Accelerator Lab is joining these efforts.

The objective of the Lab is to identify and experiment with innovative breakthrough solutions and facilitate their dissemination. It is important to UNDP that solutions for food security did not harm the environment or hinder sustainable development.

Community members in conflict-affected areas have reported that planting vegetable gardens has had a healing effect and has helped distract them from the realities of war. One action, two benefits: increased food security and better mental health.  

Furthermore, when two communities come together to use food-growing facilities, there are opportunities to deepen the social fabric and mobilize other communities to join in. Specifically, this could be important for the integration of internally displaced people within their host communities; it could offer them temporary occupation and a means to sustain themselves.

Which solutions are being considered?

We are interested in any solutions that are innovative, support food security, are related to social engagement and can be scaled-up. Check our catalogue of solutions to get an idea of what we are looking for.

We also investigate solutions from all stages of the way of food from a seed to a customer: growing, transporting, processing, selling/distributing, consuming/waste.

We also explore needs, which when fulfilled lead to better yields or more processed products in households/apartments: drying, sublimating, discounts on materials for conservation, access to small cultivating machinery and supplies, and more.

Some ideas of solutions:

  • “Tool library” for small farmers or households. Co-fund purchase of a tractor, a tiller, a van for delivery and use them jointly.
  • Urban vegetable gardens: reach an agreement with a city council, find a land plot and start growing food there. Urban gardens + condominiums – cultivation of the land-plots adjacent to buildings.
  • “Buy seeds – receive yields”. An online-platform allowing to donate funds to individual households or farmers, who will later share their yields from the donors.
  • A map of free houses in rural communities with land-plots for cultivation for IDPs and the community at large.

What are our plans?

The project is expected to run till September and the planned outcomes are:

  • Catalogue of solutions that may enhance food security in Ukraine.
  • Experiment with 5-10 solutions by supporting them financially and organizationally, report lessons learnt publicly.
  • Draft recommendations for implementation of the solutions to UNDP and other international projects in Ukraine.

How to participate?

Send us the information about creative solutions in the food security field that foster a strong social fabric and community mobilization. Are you implementing something? Do you know those, who does? Have you heard of interesting solutions? Submit the information via the form.

We are looking for volunteers who can help us to describe and test solutions, as well as experts who can comment, criticize, and advise on them. If you can spare 1 hour per week for such activity, please leave your contacts in the form above.

If you have an interesting idea, which feasibility you want to check, please reach out to us. Use the same form for it or the contact details below. It is possible that we may choose to support it.

Send your questions and suggestions to:

Illia YeremenkoIllia.yeremenko@undp.org, +380634835122

Oksana Udovyk, Oksana.udovyk@undp.org

 

Partnership:

We are working together with the Victory Gardens Initiative. Learn more about this initiative aimed at ensuring households across Ukraine has access to food here.

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About UNDP Accelerator Lab

In 2019, UNDP Ukraine established a new unit that aims to identify local innovative solutions and help Ukraine’s reforms development ecosystem test such solutions and employ new methods to address sustainable development issues.

About Victory Gardens

Sady Peremohy (Victory Gardens) is a Ukrainian-based campaign with a goal to access all the land available and mobilize every resource at our disposal to ensure our country stays food secure during this time of war. It is led by SURGE, support to Ukraine’s reforms for governance, funded by global affairs Canada.

 

Useful materials

Webinar recordings:

  • Webinar 1: How to grow Victory Gardens in the City
  • Webinar 2: City gardening: How does it work in Paris, Valencia and Barcelona

Find out more about our Ideathon “Food that unites”