First assignment of group n° 125


Title: Urban agriculture, the key element of ecological success.

QUESTION 1: What problem do you want to solve ?

The first environmental problem we face nowadays is the high costs of the food transports. In fact, we noticed that a lot of trucks, vessels or planes travel across the world to bring vegetables and fruits among others. This phenomenon increase increase the volume of greenhouse gas emissions. The engines emit certain gases like carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane into the air. These gases contribute to the greenhouse effect. It is dangerous for the earth because it increases the planet’s temperature and could be harmful for the biodiversity. Certains species won’t be able to live under a higher temperature and even for the human it could be some problems. A single plan can burn thousands of pounds of fuel during takeoff so the pollution is very important just for one way when importing food. Sea vessels and airplanes that import food use fossil fuels and produce more emissions than any other mode of transportation. Indeed, the issue is we live in a polluted world because we buy food at a less price from abroad. In addition, the food is not fresh because of the time it takes to arrive in the country of destination. Most of people eat badly without taking care of the environment. Most of the vegetables are fruits produced with pesticide and sometimes OGM. Today, the main concern is to reduce the food miles, and create a close market without polluting. Food miles is an interesting concept related to the gas emissions that a truck can have through the distance food travels from where it is grown to where it is ultimately purchased. This problem is very present everywhere in the world, we buy Kiwi from south america even if France is the first producer of it, just because it is cheaper. The more food miles that attach to a given food, the less sustainable the food is.

QUESTION 2: Why does this problem exist ?

Today, the basic needs for humans are: breathing, drinking, eating, protection from cold and heat. Among them, we find the need to eat. To feed, the human being has available several possibilities. He can go to a restaurant and enjoy a service included. Or he has to go to a store to buy food. In both cases, we can ask a simple question, where my food comes from? In the best case these products are from a local farm nearby. But for the vast majority of these products are imported from foreign countries. The transportation of food products, often thousands of kilometers up consumers, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.

For example: A strawberry yogurt, can travel more than 9000 km, if we take into account the path traveled by each of the raw materials (strawberries, milk, yeast, sugar, pot, lid, label ...) and that to the consumer's home.

Feed oneself is vital. Protecting earth climate must be vital too

QUESTION 3: What breakthrough are you commited to creating ?

To resolve the issue of the modern agriculture that we have to handle nowadays, we have some ideas that we think could work out. The problem is the distance traveled by fruits and vegetables before reaching our plates. Especially because there's a lot of pesticides to maintain them during the journey. So we should first think about using other fuels that are less polluting, or encouraging other modes of transport. But the major breakthrough would be to create a local agriculture in the towns. To encourage this new way to consume, we could create urban gardens, and maybe on the roofs of the buildings so they do not take up space in cities that are already crowded. We could also create a smartphone’s application where people share their gardens: that would allow a local consumption, but also a collaborative consumption, with a division of expenses. Moreover, we could create farms of picking, where people would come and would choose their fruits and vegetables directly on the tree. But creating new ways to consume is just a part of the plan. We should also encourage the local producers of fruits and vegetables which are already there and who are surviving with difficulty to the international competition. So we should put them forward by creating advertising campaigns, to create the buzz. Also put their products in the first place in supermarkets, and create stores with only local products, or create a special currency to favor the business with the local farmers. Finally, we must convince consumers to eat seasonal products. Indeed, the heated greenhouses and import permit to find the same fruits and vegetables all year. But it is not without cost to the planet: much energy is consumed for heating and transport. It would be better to consume fruits and vegetables in season produced locally, often cheaper and much better, and organic if possible.

Potential experts already identified :

Mr Baudouin Vidalin :Buyer specialized in fruits and vegetables for the Mousquetaire Group

Mr Arnaud Dhaussy : Co founder of AEQUITAS

Mr Lenoir François : Professor of ecology in A Cfa tylloy les moflaine (Arras)

Mr Lourette : Founder of Progreen company

Resources used by the team


Book : Anderson, C. (2012), Makers: La nouvelle révolution industrielle, Edition Pearson



Book : Novel, AS et Riot, S. (2012), Vive la corévolution ! Pour une société collaborative, Editions Alternatives



Book : Sempels, C. et Hoffmann, J. (2012), Les business models du futur : créer de la valeur dans un monde aux ressources limitées, Pearson France.



Book : Barthélémy, A. et Slitine, R. (2011), Entrepreneuriat social : innover au service de l'intérêt général, Editions Vuibert



Book : Botsman, R. et Rogers, R. (2010), What's mine is yours, the rise of collaborative consumption, HarperBusiness


Elisabeth VERRIEST

Book : Radjou, N. Prabhu, J., Ahuja, S. et Boillot, JJ (2013), Innovation Jugaad. Redevons ingénieux !, Editions Diateino


Oriane FABRE

Book : Rifkin, J. (2011), La troisième révolution industrielle, Editions Les Liens qui Libèrent